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In Russia’s Far East, a Fledgling Las Vegas for Asia’s Gamblers - The New York Times Tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok

By ANDREW HIGGINS JULY 1, Financed largely by a Hong Kong company, Summit Ascent, it is also the single biggest Chinese investment in a region that President Vladimir V. Ever since Nikita S. These have all been followed by bitter disappointment.

Putin, Moscow has poured billions of dollars into the area, paying for huge bridges, a new university campus and other costly state-directed projects. Chinese gamblers are arriving, however, if only because gambling is illegal in their own country, except in Macau on the southern coast near Hong Kong, and because the forest northeast of Vladivostok offers the only accessible casino for the more than million Chinese who live in provinces just across the border from Russia.

Li Yunhui, a year-old businessman and gambler from Mudanjiang, a Chinese city about miles from Vladivostok, said the Russian casino lacked the amenities and service of established gambling centers like Macau, but added: And the air clean. He said he had visited Vladivostok regularly since the early s and could not fathom why Russia had lagged so far behind China in building its economy.

He added that he had tried to tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok up a small business in Vladivostok but had despaired at all the red tape: The gambling venture is itself a showcase of how slowly things gets done. Government officials began pursuing the idea nearly a decade ago. They enlisted a well-connected local tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok, Oleg Drozdov, to build the hotel and casino complex now housing Tigre de Cristal.

Summit Ascent, the Hong Kong company that now owns 60 percent of the casino venture, took over the concrete shell left by Mr. Four other casinos planned by other companies, due to be open by now, are far behind schedule.

Empty plots of land with scant signs of construction dot the forest. Tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok Russian court recently canceled the casino project of a Russian developer tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok it was too slow in getting off the ground. A champion of traditional Christian values, Mr. Having Chinese and other foreigners lose their money, however, is apparently not a problem.

Indeed, their losses now cover the salaries of around 1, Russians working for the Tigre de Cristal casino and provide a badly needed source of income for the Primorsky region around Vladivostok, a city that, aside from corruption-addled, state-funded infrastructure projects, has struggled to attract outside investment. Closed to foreigners during the Soviet era, the city now has regular flights to and from Harbin, Beijing and other Chinese tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok, and can also be reached by road and train.

To make the fleecing of foreigners and a restricted number of Russians possible, Moscow gave permission for the establishment of four special gambling zones. The westernmost of these, in Kaliningrad, targets gamblers from neighboring Poland, while the others are in the resort town of Sochi and in the Siberian region of Altai.

Russians are also allowed tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok gamble at the Tigre de Cristal, so long as they show their passports and register. This has not gone down well with Russian priests and those who see casinos as a poor substitute for slots for economic development.

Transportation infrastructure has been another problem. A new mahnomen minnesota casino connecting the casino area to the Vladivostok airport turns into a mud track in the final stretch.

A winding road to the center of Vladivostok, around 35 miles away, is so clogged bonus spin genie traffic that Yuri Trutnev, Mr. The authorities have also been sluggish in delivering on a promise of visa-free entry for visitors from China and other selected countries. Despite the delay, Chinese can still obtain visas relatively easily if they sign up for a tour, and their numbers visiting Vladivostok and the surrounding Primorsky last year more than doubled to aroundYuri Kuchin, an opposition member of the Vladivostok City Council, said local bureaucrats usually hindered rather than helped foreign investments, dragging their feet on most issues unless there is a financial benefit for themselves.

While a bitter critic of the government, he said he supported the foreign-led casino project as a source of jobs and a good way to squeeze betvictor customer service illegal gambling dens in the area, which he said were often protected by corrupt officials. A number of foreign projects in Vladivostok have fizzled, including two five-star Hyatt Hotels that were supposed to have opened for business five years ago but are still under construction.

Yet the Tigre de Cristal casino, though delayed by various mishaps like the arrest tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok a local business partner, is now not only up and running, but is making a profit.

The most lucrative sources of business at the casino are Chinese high-rollers recruited by so-called junket operators, agents who find gamblers, provide credit, make travel arrangements and manage private V. For these services, the casino pays the junket operators a chunk of what it wins from their clients — more, Mr. Landheer said, than the 40 percent to 50 percent paid to them in Macau. All the same, Tommy Li, a junket manager from northeastern China, complained that Vladivostok offered few of the attractions of Macau and was far too cold in winter.

Its only real appeal for Chinese gamblers, he said, is its proximity. One of his main gripes is that there are not enough prostitutes, who he said were far more readily available, and cheaper, in Macau. A version of this article appears in print on July 2,on Page A12 of tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok New York edition with the headline: Order Reprints Today's Paper Subscribe. Tell us what you think. Http:// upgrade your browser.

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Tigre de cristal casino resort in vladivostok

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