Holyrood architects to design Siberian gambling Mecca

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By Rory Reynolds

THE architects behind the Scottish Parliament building are set to design a multi-billion pound casino and five-star hotel – in Siberia.

Scots firm RMJM were selected to handle the layout for one of just four “gambling zones” in Russia after a government crackdown wiped out casinos overnight.

Russia’s prime minister Vladimir Putin proposed the plan in 2006 after Georgian crime gangs were linked to casinos in Moscow.

President Dmitry Medvedev put the laws into place in July, wiping out the gambling industry overnight.

Edinburgh-based RMJM, who also designed the Falkirk Wheel, recently opened an office in the port of Vladivostok, where it is already building two hotels for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012.The luxury hotel-casino complex will rival hotels in Dubai, containing an entire exhibition centre, aqua park, and indoor ski slopes.

It will also contain a marina to allow guests to arrive by boat.

RMJM’s Russian branch chairman, Dr Vladimir Kvint, said: “Vladivostok is rapidly becoming a destination of choice for many international visitors.

“A project of this nature is a logical progression.”

Vladivostok is the most remote of the four gambling zones, and is the eastern hub for the famous Trans-Siberian railway.

The other sites include the Azov Sea region, near the Black Sea, the snowy Altai region, where Russia and China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan meet and the tiny Russian city-state of Kaliningrad.

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