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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sun International Abandons Casino Project

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South Africa casino company Sun International has dropped a major casino development plan in Moscow due to city regulations and a new federal gambling law, a news report said Saturday.

The Weekender newspaper, in a report quoting local Moscow government officials, said Sun had pulled the plug on the project, which it estimated to be worth some $2 billion.

"Sun has left the project as there is no commercial reason to start it. They could launch it now, but they will have to suspend it by 2009 [due to new laws]," the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Sun International officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday.

South Africa's biggest casino company announced the Moscow project in October in conjunction with the Belaya Dacha Group. It said at the time that the plans were at an advanced stage, but did not disclose the cost of the project.

The proposed project would have been situated southeast of Moscow, with a first phase consisting of some 1,000 top-end hotel rooms, a casino, an international convention center, summer and winter sporting facilities -- including a PGA-rated championship golf course -- dachas and a spa.

Belaya Dacha chairman Victor Semyonov also had said the development would include a theme park and waterworld, Motorworld, international concert venues, biodomes and a nature preserve for deer and other Russian wildlife.

David Coutts-Trotter, Sun International's chief executive, said in October that the final decision to proceed would depend on "appropriate legislation and the development of a suitable regulatory framework" for gambling in the Moscow region.

President Vladimir Putin last year signed into law new restrictions on gambling which aim to exclude casinos from major urban areas within two years.