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Moscow Casinos - the first 10 years

    The last decade has seen significant changes in the gaming industry in Russia and this is particularly true of Moscow.

    The first casinos started to appear in 1991 and were mostly located in hotels, amongst the first being a Finnish Company Amherst, who opened casinos in the Savoy Hotel and the Mezhdunarodnaya (International) Hotel close by the Moscow River. Also in the Leningradsky Hotel could be found the Moscow Casino operated by Modern Games, a German based company.

    The number of casinos swelled and very soon there were many more casinos operated, including the Gabriela and the Alexander Blok (a floating casino very close to the Mezhdunarodnaya) operated by Casinos Austria. Kings and Queens in the Izmailova complex were operated by Storm International and the Bombay and the Arbat casinos operated by another German company. Almost all of the casinos were relatively small, with most of them no bigger than 10 or 12 tables and many were operated by foreign management companies.

    During 1992 the numbers grew and there were probably twenty casinos operating throughout the city, but with no significant changes in the market. This was to change in 1993 with the opening of the Metelitsa Entertainment Complex, which offered casino, nightclub, restaurants and bars all under one roof and this turned out to be a watershed for the gaming industry in the city.

    Customers began to realise that gaming establishments could offer more than just tables and slowly there was a move away from pure casinos to premises offering a much wider range of activities. During this period casinos such as the Golden Palace opened and a little later the Crystal both of which were large casinos offering similar facilities to the Metelitsa Entertainment Complex. The Arbat casino was extended and offered an interesting tropical theme which proved popular with its clientele, the ShangriLa casino opened near the city centre and in addition a number of other casinos were to provide a better quality of service in the same period either by opening new casinos or improving existing ones.

    In 2000 the choices offered increased again when Metelitsa opened "Sportland" the first large scale venue offering live sports broadcasts, sportsbetting, casino, slot machines bar and restaurant all in one purpose built area. This means that today customers have a much wider choice of venues with better facilities offering a wide range of services and if the market continues to move forward in a similar manner over the coming two or three years then Moscow is very well placed to become a city offering gaming facilities on a par with the best in the world.

    Within this guide you will find the best on offer of Moscow's gaming establishments and it only remains for us to wish you 'good luck' and have fun.

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