Finland’s second international casino is set to open in 2015 in a new shopping center near the Vaalimaa border crossing with Russia, located in south-eastern Finland. In 2011 over one million Russian visitors entered Finland through Vaalimaa and the number is expected to double over the next few years.
The Russian-owned company Vaalimaa Shopping Center Oy is starting construction work on the shopping center in 2013. An Italian outlet company has already reserved a large part of the shopping center premises. A hotel and spa will also be built as part of the shopping centre to cater for the growing number of Russian tourists.
Huge tourism potential
According to Janne Peräkylä, Executive Vice President and COO of Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY), the new casino is designed for about 1000 people and will also include restaurant and entertainment services. “The development of tourist figures in Vaalimaa has been enormous, and the forecasts are even more so. It is nice to get involved in a visionary project,” said Peräkylä in an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
According to Finnish law, RAY has the sole right to gaming services in Finland and currently the only large casino in Finland is located in Helsinki. Finland’s gaming legislation was amended last year which makes it possible to build a second major gambling facility in the country. In Russia, casinos and gaming establishments can only operate in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, south Siberia's Altai Territory, Primorye in the Far East, and in southern Russia since the introduction of a new law in 2009.
Sources: Kymen Sanomat, Helsingin Sanomat