Russian casino operators head to South America

With Russian regulations constricting gambling to just four cities by mid-summer, operators are looking for new opportunities in South America, reports the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Last year a bill passed in Russia’s Parliament to shut down casinos in major cities across the country by the summer. The plan is to close Moscow and St. Petersburg casinos by July 1 and create four gambling areas, including creating a Vegas-like city near the Azov Sea.

In November, USA Today reported that plans to condense gambling to those four areas were deteriorating due to the global economic downturn. However, some operators seem to have found a gambling haven in Bolivia, specifically in the country’s largest city, Santa Cruz.

According to the BBC, Russian-owned Bingo Bahiti currently runs 15 casinos in the area and is set to open two more. The region’s lottery director pointed out to the news service that the country lacks regulation and that there’s no control over the number of casinos one licensee can open.

“We haven’t given out a single new license since the (Evo) Morales government came into power, yet new casinos are opening all the time,” Carlos Bruno, the director of the National Lottery in Santa Cruz, told the BBC.