The Eastern European nation of Crimea has recently attracted media and political attention for reasons that are truly far from appealing.
It has been the centre of a geopolitical tug-of-war between Russia and the Ukraine, with outside involvement from a variety of other nations. The headlines revolved around Russia’s assumption of control over Crimea amid highly controversial circumstances.
Those circumstances appear to have not gotten in the way of the Russian government’s ambitions for the region. Among those ambitions are the creation of a gaming zone, something the government recently announced.
President Vladimir Putin put forward a bill that, if passed, would establish a gaming zone in the region. Russia currently has four such zones that were established after President Putin passed anti-gambling laws in 2009. Those zones are located in Vladivostok, the Altai region, the southern Krasnodar region, and Kaliningrad in northeastern Europe.
Russia may be hoping that it can use the popularity of gaming, including poker, in Eastern and continental Europe to boost Crimea’s economy in the midst of the past months’ events. Major poker events such as the Eureka Poker Tour have taken place throughout central and Eastern Europe and have attracted great success in recent years.
Poker has also been gaining popularity in Ukraine, which previously had control of Crimea and is still recognised by some nations and entities as the region’s rightful government. Headlines were made in the online poker world back in February when the Russian Poker Tour Main Event in the Ukranian capital of Kiev was abruptly stopped due to safety concerns related to unrest in the city.
International condemnation of Russian rule of Crimea may hinder any potential of the region becoming a European gaming hotspot. However, it may be successful in attracting Russians who may be enticed by the possibility of unrestricted gaming, a warmer climate, and the picturesque Black Sea.
The Russian bill for the establishment of a gaming zone in Crimea is certainly a highly-intriguing one. While the bill will likely pass through the Russian parliament with little opposition, the creation of gaming establishments in Crimea will likely not occur for quite some time.