What happens in Kapchagai

It seems like everyone wants a piece of Vegas. Well, at least everyone who likes casinos and tourism. Today, for example, I got a phone call from a woman in the Domincan Republic who wanted me to sell her casino carpet. Yes, despite the myriad admonishments on my contact page and elsewhere that I don’t sell carpet, I still get quite a few calls about it. And people still get upset that I can’t sell them carpet.

Anyway, the latest place trying to catch Vegas in a bottle is Kazakhstan. From the BBC:

Authorities in Kazakhstan say they are talking with investors about building a gambling and entertainment complex near the commercial capital, Almaty.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev said he had long thought of building a sort of Las Vegas on the vast empty steppe outside the city.

Officials say a new complex would help to control the growth of casinos and gambling in Almaty itself.

Kazak authorities have long been uneasy about gambling growth in major cities.

Almaty residents fret about the effects on children, or about old people pouring their pensions into slot machines.

Almaty now has nearly 40 casinos. Their colourful neon lights make some of the most impressive displays in a city which has been transformed in recent years.

But President Nazarbayev has said he wants to move the casinos and the hundreds of smaller gambling businesses out of the city entirely, to the shores of Lake Kapchagai, a huge reservoir 80km (50 miles) away.

That is in the vast dry steppe, a landscape not unlike the deserts which surround Las Vegas, but with a beach as well.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Kazakhs pondering ‘desert Vegas’

If Las Vegas had a beach, imagine how well it would do. Of course, there’d be the matter of how to replace the tourists from California (which would have to be sunk into the ocean to get beachfront property off the 215 beltway).

I probably posted this just so people could imagine their own Borat jokes. Still, it’s yet another example of gambling being harnessed for development.

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