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Analysts divided over Russian law's impact

29 May 2007

MOSCOW, Russia -- As reported by the Moscow Times: "Attempting to predict the future of the domestic real estate sector may seem more like roulette than a sure bet, and just how laws establishing special gambling zones around the country will affect the development of the hotel industry is dividing analysts and industry experts.

"Under legislation signed into law by President Putin at the end of December, gambling will be restricted to four specially designated zones around the country from July 2009.

"Speculation that the zones are set to see a hotel boom as international operators move in were boosted by recent reports in the Russian media that one casino giant was eyeing a massive hotel complex development in one of the zones, on the border between the Rostov and Krasnodar regions.

"...Some industry watchers are cautious about the region's potential to draw the interest of large hotel developers, however.

"...An exasperated Michael Boettcher, the British CEO of Storm International casino group, condemned the selection of the zones and said any investment in them lacked logic.

"...With doubts over whether the gambling law will ever come into effect and questions over the adequacy of local infrastructure and transport links, gaming industry spokesmen have moved to scotch rumors of potential investment..."

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