Moscow Casino Ban Forces Storm to Open in Costa Rica, Armenia
Posted 22 February 2008 - 10:12 PM
By Maria Ermakova
Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Storm International, Russia's largest casino company, will open gambling venues in Costa Rica and Armenia this year and may abandon its home market because of restrictions, Chief Executive Officer Michael Boettcher said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is forcing casinos out of Moscow and St. Petersburg to reduce gambling, exiling them to four regions outside the two biggest cities. The industry's revenue has swelled to as much as $7 billion a year in Russia, Boettcher said, after a 10th straight year of economic expansion.
``If the law doesn't change, we'll leave Russia,'' said Boettcher, a 60-year-old Briton who said he founded Moscow-based Storm 16 years ago with two blackjack tables and a roulette wheel. ``Most staff, certainly the management, will come with us,'' he said last week at his Jazz Town casino in Moscow.
A law that takes effect July 2009 permits gambling on Russia's Pacific coast, in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, Siberia's Altai region and around the Azov Sea in the south. The areas are too far from Moscow to draw gamblers, Boettcher said.
Putin compared dependency on gaming to alcohol or nicotine addiction in 2006, the year the law was passed. Gambling mushroomed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, with casinos appearing in Russian cities and slot machines installed in Moscow's underground rail network.
Storm is aiming for 12 percent of the $172 billion world gaming market by 2030, Boettcher said.
The company plans to open a renovated casino in the Armenian capital of Yerevan by May and will invest $300 million developing a hotel, concert and exhibition halls, a shopping center and restaurants. In Costa Rica, the company is refurbishing a hotel and building a casino, both scheduled to open by July.
Emerging markets are more attractive than developed nations because they have fewer rules governing gaming, the CEO said. Developing countries have drawn companies from Ladbrokes Plc, the U.K. owner of about 2,600 betting shops, to Queenco Leisure International Plc, which plans a Cambodian casino.
Storm's revenue has risen by as much as 25 percent annually in the past seven years and climbed 40 percent in 2007, Boettcher said, without giving figures. The company has five Moscow casinos including Jazz Town, which has its own music club, 30 gaming tables and a leather-furnished VIP room.
``It's not just a matter of openings,'' said Boettcher, Storm's sole owner. ``It's the GDP growth. Salaries are growing astronomically. In 1992, it was all bandits. People have changed.''
Storm will turn its Moscow properties into stores, offices or hotels and is diversifying into business jets and yacht- chartering for millionaires in the Russian capital.
The casino owner, which is also building a resort in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, has no plans to borrow money, sell a stake or go public, the CEO said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Ermakova in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted 23 February 2008 - 04:47 AM
Posted 23 February 2008 - 05:17 AM
Boettcher sounds German to me, though that could mean that he is... where is elle?
Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:06 AM
7th September, 2007
Russian firm, Storm International, which is the second largest Russian gambling company, is planning to build a brand new casino and a series of gambling halls that will require $300 million investment. The investment is said to come from the firm itself and from the unnamed US source as well.
According to Lavrenti Gubin, Press Secretary of Storm International, the casino is going to be very large, 15 hectare, and will add to the already existing 50 Armenian casinos. The complex will be called Shangri-La-Yerevan and will also have a 5-star hotel next to the casino, which is said to have 200 rooms, a concert hall, restaurants, night clubs, shopping areas, hairdressers and other leisure activities usually found in expensive resorts. Armenia is not the first country the company decided to expand its business into, which started off after the Russian gambling laws got tougher in terms of opening casinos in very populated areas. Armenia’s other casinos are placed 10 km outside the city center (capital).
Gambling laws are getting tougher, as we can see not only in online casino business, but for in-land venues as well. Nevertheless, it has been noticeable that Russian business are keeping their strings in the market and trying their hardest to be able to expand and grow, especially when the market outlook is so promising.
Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:50 AM
"the casino is going to be very large, 15 hectare, and will add to the already existing 50 Armenian casinos. The complex will be called Shangri-La-Yerevan and will also have a 5-star hotel next to the casino, which is said to have 200 rooms, a concert hall, restaurants, night clubs, shopping areas, hairdressers and other leisure activities usually found in expensive resorts"
hetaqrir e te vortegh e na linelu
Posted 23 February 2008 - 07:06 AM
Posted 23 February 2008 - 02:45 PM
I'm here, what about it?
I think the name sounds German/Austrian.
Posted 23 February 2008 - 02:48 PM
Posted 27 February 2008 - 04:23 PM
Yeah, it's going to be around Zvartnots. Plenty of real estate there. That's the gambling zoning area. They can't build it anywhere else.
Posted 11 March 2008 - 10:09 AM
You may be in luck.
With Yerevan fast becoming one big wall to wall GAMBLING CASINO, there may be a potential career for you.
Open a “Gamblers Anonymous” office.
One big strip of a million casinos on the Yerevan to Zvartnots highway !!
Who are the patron-customers? Those who cannot put two lumas together for a loaf of bread, or afford to buy a litre of milk for thier babies?
Or are they Persians with Rials, Arabs with Ryals, Germans with Deutche Marks, i.e Euro's, or Muscovites with Rubles? Zimbabweians with Zimba's? Not to forget the American Dollars.
Certailnly not DRAMS!
Do our boys and girls have any other diversion? Like… say… S E X?
I mean making babies?
SURE! Build more casinos, never building Dairy Farms with cows with big dzidiks!
Is her name Arelian Markrit Taverian?
A Queens native who once made $500,000 as a New York City lawyer is now suing a number of Atlantic City casinos for $20 million, claiming they didn't notice her gambling addiction. Arelia Margarita Taveras owes $1 million from her gambling losses, but thinks the casinos enabled her.
Taveras, who represented victims' families in the World Trade Center attacks and Flight 587 crash, grew up in Corona, went to Cardozo Law School, and was, at the height of her success, making $500,000/year at her practice of 400 clients. She also appeared as a TV commentator and was named one of the "21 New Yorkers to Watch in the 21st Century" by the Daily News in 2000. But Taveras says her troubles began when she went to Atlantic City to relax.
"They knew I was going for days without eating or sleeping. I would pass out at the tables. They had a duty of care to me. Nobody in their right mind would gamble for four or five straight days without sleeping," Taveras told the AP. She says the casinos welcomed her with "high roller" perks, like allowing her bring her dog to blackjack tables and a limo to take her between casinos.
A lawyer specializing in Atlantic City gambling issues, Paul O'Gara, said Taveras' case is hard to prove, "How are you supposed to know whether this was a woman who was just having a good time, or had money and was just lonely, as opposed to someone who couldn't control themselves?"
Taveras, who used $100,000 of clients' escrow money to cover her losses and was charged with grand larceny and forgery by the Queens DA's office, was disbarred, lost her apartment and parents' home, and now works at a call center in Minnesota. She told the AP, "It's like crack, only gambling is worse than crack because it's mental. It creeps up on you, the impulse. It's a sickness."
Edited by Arpa, 11 March 2008 - 10:28 AM.
Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:56 AM
anyway, i hardly see anyone at the casino's, there is never more than 1 lada at the parking space.
Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:14 AM
Armenia is run in a very similar today to when it was part of the Russian Empire. Our nobility is a true disgrace.
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