Casino Blackjack Coming Soon To New Vegas in Russian Siberia
Mar 5, 2011
Russia is trying to build, despite all odds, a gambling mecca similar to Las Vegas in the middle of the frigid waste land of Siberia that even Bugsy Seagal would have ran from.
Russians have repeatedly proven themselves able to complete enormous construction projects on the behest of their leaders, even if there was no reason for constructing them in the first place.
The infamous 141 mile long Belamor Canal, linking the White and the Baltic Sea was constructed 75 years earlier, for no particular reason, at a tremendous cost of lives and money and the end result was too shallow for ships to use.
Things haven’t changed much since that time. Three years ago, obeying the casino strategy of Russia’s President Putin, every casino in the country was closed and gambling declared illegal. Half a million people lost their jobs, enriching organized crime and draining tax coffers.
The good news for Russia’s gamblers is the discovery, by expert government planners, of four impoverished areas which will soon transform into gambling meccas.
One of these areas is nicknamed Vegas East, and officially – Siberian Coin – which sits in a nine square mile strip of mountainous terrain in the middle of the most inhospitable, inaccessible and underdeveloped part of the world – Altai, Siberia.
By late 2012, according to the same government experts who approved this area, dozens of tables with different blackjack rule variations will fill the massive casino floors inside 5 star hotels, next to gourmet restaurants catered by world class chefs. Crowds of tourists will marvel at Vegas East as they marvel now at Bugsy Segal’s dream – Las Vegas. The impoverished locals will prosper and live happier more productive lives.
The only thing stopping this utopian fantasy is the complete lack of paved roads, telephones, toilets and electricity. The second problem is that there are no locals, since Vegas East is a 4 hour drive on icy, treacherous off-road terrain, from the nearest town.
There is just snow, mountains and trees for dozens of miles in every direction. The only sign on human habitation is a lonely, newly built shack that’s labeled ‘the tourism office.’ The shack’s manager, Anatoly Golovachyov, happily told us – ‘Soon, the vodka will flow and blackjack tables, and the mafia, money and prostitutes will show up!’
Barnaul, the closest town four hours away, where -10 weather is considered a warm day, is drab, with crumbling Soviet era building and groups of frowning men purposelessly loitering about. The only hotel is packet with women in tight clothes frequently checking their mobile phones, and troglodyte faced men, wearing leather jackets.
The town’s most popular occupations are: taxi driver, rare bird trapper, gold smuggler and prostitute. The large casino next door, called The Golden Lemon is illegal, yet doing brisk business with multiple blackjack card games in progress.
Back at Vegas East, a three person team (Pasha, Lesha and Kolya) were trying to install a power grid which one day will bring electricity to this forgotten corner of the world.
Kolya pointed to a steep, rugged mountain side, encased in a cocoon of snow – ‘That is where the first of the 5 star casinos will open next year,’ he said in wonder. Lesha, finishing his cigarette, added – ‘It’s crazy, I know, but they all say it will happen.’
Pasha, the foreman of the group just said – ‘They say this will be the Las Vegas of Siberia, better to go to the Las Vegas of Las Vegas.’
Referenced from Mr. Peter Savodnik of Newsweek.