Igor Tropimov, secretary-general of the Maritime Development Corporation (PDC), said the local government in Russia’s Far East coastal state is to keep the tax burden on local casino resorts unchanged. “What businesses need at this early stage is stability,” the official told GGRAsia, referring to investors’ business plans.

PDC is a government-owned company under the Maritime Tourism Authority and is responsible for the development of the Maritime Integrated Entertainment Zone (IEZ), a casino development area located 50 km (31 miles) from the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

In Russia, taxes on games are regulated by the federal and local governments, respectively. Under the system, the federal government provides for a range of such taxes, but it is up to the local governments to set the actual level within that range.

“The federal government has recently increased its reach, but local governments have decided not to change taxes because they understand the importance of this project [the coastal state] and do not want to jeopardize the success of this development for short revenue,” Mr Tropimov explained.

The Primorsky Krai government charges 125,000 roubles ($1,902) per month for each game table and 7,500 roubles for each slot machine. “At the moment, local governments have no plans to change their taxes [bills],” the official said.

IEZ occupies 619 hectares (1,530 acres). About a dozen properties covering 263 hectares are planned for the first phase of development.

Developed by Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, Tigre de Crystal is the only casino resort currently operating in the coastal state of IEZ. The first phase of the initiative began in 2015 and the company is currently working on expanding the property.

According to information provided by PDC, all planned locations for Phase 1 of the Primorsky Krai IEZ will have to operate by 2025, with the companies expected to make at least a total investment of US$2.7 billion.

The PDC director said he thought an organization would eventually be created to oversee the casino industry, but said, “For now, it’s better for the casino industry to be self-regulated.”

“It is recommended that we wait for further development of IEZ with the cooperation and oversight of local governments before introducing too many restrictions,” he added. “However, we expect to see particular restrictions in the gaming industry going forward.”

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