Wednesday May 23, 2012 : ASIAN PUNTERS THE ATTRACTION FOR A RUSSIAN CASINO IN VLADIVOSTOK
 
Grand plans for remote industrial city
 
There are ambitious plans afoot for one of the four remote areas designated by the Russian government as legalised gambling areas , with avid Chinese gamblers the main target for a major gambling resort complex in the largely industrial and naval city of Vladivostok, a two-hour flight from South Korea and Japan.
 
The hope is that investors in booming Macau and Singapore gambling venues will see the additional opportunity that Vladivostok represents due to its proximity to China, reports the Reuters news agency.
 
Russia's state-owned Nash Dom Primorye is set to announce at the Global Gaming Expo in Macau today (Wednesday) that it is seeking private investors and companies to build casino resorts in a six square kilometre area near Vladivostok.
 
Known as the Integrated Entertainment Zone, the project has space for roughly five large resorts.
 
A report from research firm Gaming Market Advisors estimates the zone could rake in revenues of $2 to $7 billion when completed. By comparison, Singapore's casino area which is similar in size, took in more than $5 billion in 2011.
 
Nash Dom Primorye has appointed Las Vegas-based Galaviz and Co as lead strategic adviser for the tender, which will be initiated in June, giving potential international operators 60 days to send in a pitch and budget estimates. The government will then enter into discussions with potential investors by the end of October.
 
Marina Lomakina, general director of Nash Dom, told Reuters in an interview she hoped the zone would be fully completed within five years.
 
"We want companies who are well known and will help create amenities that are more than just casino gaming," she said, adding that the zone would require a total minimum investment of $2 billion from private investors looking to develop properties.
 
The masterplan includes luxury hotels, a yacht club, shopping malls as well as outdoor sports such as golf. As it stands now, the zone is 2.6 square kilometers, but can be extended to six square kilometers.
 
Reuters reports that the Russian port city has invested $7 billion over the past five years to develop infrastructure, including a new airport, bridges that resemble San Franscisco's Golden Gate and a new university. It is constructing more roads and transport links for the resort zone.