Japan has been in the news in recent months due to a major push to legalise casinos and gaming in the east Asian nation. There is the potential for legislation for the legalisation and regulation to go through in the country later this year, but if it fails, one group who likely won’t be complaining are the people of Vladivostok.
Vladivostok is a major city in the far East of Russia. It’s cold, it’s far-flung and it’s run by a Prime Minister in a capital city that is over 9,200 kilometres away. It is also one of just four areas in the largest country in the world to be given the status of an Integrated Entertainment Zone, which allows legalised casinos and gaming to take place.
The status has led to a boost in the building of casinos in the area, with the area’s business potential gaining interest from major global casino figures. The latest of those figures to show interest is Macau’s Lawrence Ho, better known as the son of casino mogul Stanley Ho.
The younger Ho, a casino businessman in his own right, has announced that his two companies will purchase a 51 percent stake in a business building two casino resorts in the area for $630 million. Compared to many of Ho’s casino investments in Macau, the deal is quite small, but is set to make him a major player in the emerging casino market in the Russian city.
Vladivostok sits on the Sea of Japan and is less than 100 kilometres from China’s north eastern borders. A casino and gaming industry in the city and the region surrounding it is likely to eventually gain interest from Chinese in the north of the country, where major cities such as Harbin, Changchun and Shenyang are located.
It is also only two and a half hours flight from the capital Beijing, which would make it an attractive destination for those who live in the capital of the 1.3 billion people country. Vladivostok also has direct flights to South Korea’s capital Seoul, which would make it an attractive option for South Korean tourists and gamers.
Failure of any push to legalise and regulate casinos and gaming in Japan would also make the Vladivostok market attractive to the Japanese, as Japan as in close proximity to the city. That would also significantly boost any casino market that emerges in the Russian city, with many of the Japan’s 126 million population being a significant target for the Vladivostok casino industry.
That could likely make Mr Ho the first of many big name casino owners to have a stake in the new market.