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Russia's Largest Casino Opens In Gambling Zone, Six Years After Ban

Russia's largest casino has been officially unveiled within a legal gambling zone in the Far East, six years after the government banned gambling centers across most of Russia.

A ceremony for the opening of the first casino of what is expected to be the Tigre de Cristal gambling zone near the Pacific port city of Vladivostok took place on November 11.

The newly opened casino has nearly 500 slot machines and 50 gambling tables.

Local officials said earlier that nearly $2 billion will be invested in the gambling zone-to-be that was already nicknamed in the Russian press as "Las Vegas on the Pacific."

Hong Kong-based Melco International Development is involved in the project to build casinos, restaurants, and hotels for the new gambling zone.

In 2009, the Kremlin banned gambling establishments in Russia and launched a campaign against illegal gambling and gambling addiction.

Only four sites in the Far East and Russia's European exclave, Kaliningrad, have been allowed to establish special gambling zones.

Based on reporting by Interfax and

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