First Las Vegas-Style Casino Opens in Iraqi Quagmire
Good news from Iraq?
An American-style casino opens in Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan. (Kurd.net)
The first American-style casino is opening in Iraq.
Lawk Salih reported:
Sulaimaniyah, Not to be outdone by the establishment of the American University in Kurdistan autonomous region so called ‘northern Iraq’ in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, a ballsy Russian businessman, Vitaly Kouznetzov, has helped bring another, sexier, slice of American life to the Iraqi Kurds: he’s brought a touch of Las Vegas to that same Kurdistan’s cultural capital with the launch of an American-style casino.
Sulaimaniyah is located near the border with Iran (Iranian-Kurdistan), and has long been considered a bastion of liberalism in a part of the world known more for intolerance and chaotic bloodshed.
Public Radio International (PRI) interviewed Mr. Kouznetov, and in it he explains to his bemused interviewer, Lisa Mullin, just how he has managed to open a casino in a Muslim country riven by civil strife and religion-inspired killing.
Money to be made?
Very good customers, he notes – just look at their cars. Good peoples, different people.
Not at all worried about security, huh?
Actually, security is very good, he says, much to Mullin’s surprise. Of course everyone is armed. Everyone carries Kalashnikovs, but we have a room by the door where they can check them, one hour, two hours, however long they need.
Booze? Just beer. Well, that’s better than nothing. We hear it’s hot there.
Iraqi Kurdistan is a secular region, and the most secular city is Sulaimaniyah, the Kurdistan’s cultural capital.
And, local children started classes this month…
Nejad Tawfiq, left, a teacher, hands out candy to her pupils on the first day of school in Sulaimaniyah, 260 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq on Monday, Sept. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)