The dry bed of what was once the Aral Sea could be transformed into a new gambling zone according to reports, which state that foreign investors are in talks with the Uzbek government to create a modern casino complex on the lake’s former shores.
Representatives from the United Arab Emirates submitted the proposal for a Las Vegas-style revamp in the town of Muynak, Uzbekistan’s Gazeta.uz reported.
Approving the plans would require a new raft of legislation for the Central Asian country, which outlawed most forms of gambling in 2007. According to Uzbek media, the
General Prosecutor’s Office is already looking whether the law can be rolled back.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev spoke of repealing the anti-gambling legislation in November 2018 in a bid to revive business in the country’s western state of Karakalpakstan, which has slowly decayed as the waters of the nearby Aral Sea dried up.The lake, which covered 68,000 km2 in 1960, now has a surface area of just 6,800 km2, split between two bodies of water.
Other potential investment projects touted by the Uzbek cabinet include holding a Muynak Rally Car stage, an international food festival, and medical tourism projects.