Lack of interest in land casinos in isolated and remote areas could see a more pragmatic approach

Russia's draconian exile of gambling operations to four remote areas of the vast country is apparently not generating commercial enthusiasm from either operators or players, according to a report in the publication RT.

Failed attempts to get operators to invest in the original designated areas lies at the heart of a possibly more pragmatic approach by the government.

"Last year Russian lawmakers banned all casinos and gambling clubs across the country, replacing them with four specially designated development zones in Siberia, Western Russia, the South and the East," reports RT.

"The industry reacted immediately by shutting down the facilities, moving them abroad, or going underground. Even the relatively more successful gambling zone, in the South, is mostly being ignored by the entrepreneurs."

The region’s authorities have suggested relocating the whole Southern gambling zone closer to the Black Sea coast as a way of attracting more punters. Inspired by Las Vegas, the authorities also want to offer more than just gambling.

“Why can’t we try and do something like that in Russia, without making the same mistakes?" said Kransnodar region’s Deputy Governor, Aleksey Agafonov. "We can use the best that Las Vegas has to offer, refined by decades of experience. Essentially, we’ve come up with a new concept – a family resort where gambling will be just one of the highlights.”

However, as RT points out that the concept will need the support of the Russian State Duma (Parliament), and that is a formidable hurdle to overcome.