I was surprised to learn that Russia, the largest country in the world, has only three legal casinos. In 2009, Russia adopted regulations that allow gambling facilities to operate in four official gambling zones. The dream of these zones becoming “Vegas-in the-East” hasn’t materialized so far. At present, only one of these official gambling zones – Azov-City in Krasnodar region – is operating, at far below its true potential.
All three Russians casinos are located in Azov-City, a resort town situated on the Don River, very near the Azov sea. The first to open was the Oracul Casino, in 2010. Since then, two more casinos, the Shambhala and more recently the Nirvana casino, opened their doors. The opening of a fourth casino, the Crystal Casino, is planned for 2014.
Russian casinos are designed according to European standards and offer all the amenities you would expect to find in a full service casino. The games on offer include all the classic casino games, such as Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and slots. But they definitely have some special characteristic. For example, the Shambhala in Azov-City is the only casino I know that has “Intellectual Games” on the menu. The Shambhala offers live tables of Chess, Backgammon, Domino and Checkers, which according to the casino “stimulate the mind”.