Russia Clamps Down On Online Gambling

On July 1, 2009, Russia shut down its land based casinos and restricted gambling to four specific zones in rarely visited regions of the country.
Following the casino ban, Russian ‘computer clubs’ have surged in popularity but now the Russian government has signalled its intention to clamp down on those too, by firmly going after online gamblers.
Moscow alone saw the number of its ‘computer clubs’ surge from  23 to 98 right after the ban, with many establishments then offering access to online poker and casinos.
Despite attempts to shut them down, many still are believed to be operating illegally and so Ivan Savvidi from Vladmir Putin’s United Russia party has now introduced a bill calling for fines of between 500 and 2000 rubles ($15 to $65) on online gamblers wagering outside of the safe zones. Commenting on his bill, Savvidi said:
“Before, the Law concentrated on suppliers of gambling, and now the gamblers themselves are responsible.”
Russian lawyer Irina Tulubyeva from Tulubyeva, Osipov and partners agreed with the bill and further commented:
“If the gamblers know that they will pay a fine, there will be fewer of those willing to play. And they are becoming partners in crime, even though the main punishment will still be given to the organisers.”
Russia’s anti-gambling measures do not end there, though, and a second bill has also been introduced which aims to better define ‘slot machine’ in order to prevent people exploiting loopholes in Russia’s gambling laws forbidding them outside of the specified gaming zones.
Legal lottery clubs have become incredibly popular in Russia, with Moscow alone having more than 700 such businesses. They are often merely gaming halls by another name, the difference being that their slot machines do not accept coins.
If the bill is accepted then slot machines will be then be banned and, as Member of the Federal Council Alexander Pochinok explains:
“I have been looking for a definition of slot machine for a long time and finally found it. It is the most important part of my bill.”
It looks like Russia’s clampdown on the country’s “illegal” gambling trade is now well and truly gathering steam.

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