Russia to set up gambling zone in Crimea

MOSCOW, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Russia will establish a gambling zone in its newly-adopted Crimea, and enlarge another one in southern Krasnodar to include Sochi, an official statement said Wednesday.

Crimean authorities could decide the borders of the zone, according to a new law signed by President Vladimir Putin and made public at the government's legal information website.

Sergey Aksyonov, acting head of the Crimea republic, said the government would invite experienced developers to build the zone.

"We've been negotiating with the experts from (China's) Macao and (U.S.) Los Angeles," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Russia banned gambling in 2009, except for four specially designated zones across the country, which are located in Kaliningrad near the Baltic Sea, the Far East, Siberia's Altai region and the Krasnodar region.

In Sochi, the host city of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, new casinos will be located near the Olympic Village.

The Russian government has been working on a number of programs aimed at boosting the economy in Crimea, a peninsula it absorbed from Ukraine in March without recognition from Kiev and Western countries.