Adding to the economic agony, Crimea faces a 2014 budget shortfall "predicted to be tens of billions of rubles". The New York Times notes that Russia has earmarked $2.85 billion for "all Crimean projects", while Putin's new version of Sin City is slated for completion by January 2015.
The pro-gambling tack strays from Putin's previous record on gambling, as he cracked down on casinos during his first term in office. The strongman went so far as to call gambling "a dangerous addiction and a magnet for organized crime," according to Businessweek, and Russia eventually banned casinos altogether from the nation's capital and many of its larger cities.
Even so, the Russian president's renewed logic falls in line with that of countless other politicians dealing with struggling economies: Let's build a casino to save our faltering economy!