|One of Russia’s largest casino operators, Storm International, has announced that it will open new venues in Armenia and Costa Rica later this year as new Government restrictions at home begin to take their toll.|
The firm stated that it could abandon its home market and transform its Moscow properties into stores, offices or hotels and diversify into business jets and yacht chartering for millionaires in the Russian capital.
'If the law doesn't change, we'll leave Russia,' said Michael Boettcher, Chief Executive Officer for Storm.
British-born Boettcher founded Moscow-based Storm 16 years ago with two blackjack tables and a roulette wheel and stated that the company is aiming to reap twelve percent of the $172 billion world gaming market by 2030.
'Most staff, certainly the management, will come with us,' said the 60-year-old.
Storm stated that it plans to open a renovated casino in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, by May and will invest $300 million developing a hotel, concert and exhibition halls, a shopping centre and restaurants. In Costa Rica, the company is refurbishing a hotel and building a casino with both scheduled to open by July.
Boettcher said that emerging markets are more attractive than developed nations because they have fewer rules governing gaming and, given that Costa Rica is a prominent haven for offshore Internet gambling companies, a move online could be a possibility.