Attendance at gambling zones in Sochi and Kaliningrad fell by 20% due to «special operation»

The number of visitors to gambling zones in Sochi and Kaliningrad has decreased by 20% since the beginning of 2022. Attendance was affected by the complete absence of foreign tourists and difficulties with flights within Russia, due to the «special operation» in Ukraine.

The Krasnaya Polyana gambling zone in Sochi received 272,400 visitors in the first half of 2022, which is 23% less than in the same period of 2021. This data was provided by Dmitry Anfinogenov, chairman of the Association of Operators of the Entertainment Industry and Sports and Entertainment Events (AIRIS), and confirmed by the press service of the gambling zone.

One of the main reasons for the decline in attendance is a twofold increase in flight time from the European part of Russia to Sochi, a representative of Krasnaya Polyana noted. After the start of the «military special operation»in Ukraine, the planes are forced to fly around the southern regions of Russia with entry into the airspace of Kazakhstan, he explained.

The share of foreign visitors is also declining, with the press service acknowledging that it was 24% before the pandemic, but is now very low.

A similar situation is in the Yantarnaya gambling zone in the Kaliningrad region, marketing manager Ildar Magizov said. According to him, the mainstream now is guests from Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Central and Volga federal districts, and there are virtually no tourists from Europe in recent years. Attendance of the zone in the first six months of 2022 fell by 15-20% and amounted to about 56,000 people.

According to Magizov, Yantarnaya is looking for alternative suppliers of gaming equipment: the purchase of slot machines today is complicated by the fact that the rights to them and the software installed in them belong to European companies, including the Australian Novomatic, one of the leaders in the production of slot machines.

The gambling zone in Primorye was originally focused on foreign tourists from Asia, who made up 28% of the total in 2019, but after the border was closed in 2020, their share fell to zero, according to Anfinogenov. Casino Tigre de Cristal (the first resident of the zone) from January to June 2022 was visited by 114,900 guests, which is 2.6% more than last year (112,000 people), but by the end of the year, AIRIS expects a decrease in the flow to 35% compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

A spokesman for Tigre de Cristal confirmed the association’s findings and noted that the situation would not change if the Russian side of the border was opened. The main owner of the casino, the Hong Kong-based Suncity Group, previously reported that due to the geopolitical situation, it is exercising caution regarding the further development of business in Primorye.
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