The Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, has overwhelmingly passed all amendments put forth by President Medvedev to further tighten the already strict Russian gambling laws.
Since 2009, when Russia banned all forms of traditional and online casinos in Russia, organized crime has been operating thousands of illegal underground casinos from the tiniest hamlet in the tundra to the biggest cities in Russia, protected by high level prosecutors and police officials.
Earlier this year a number of high level prosecutors and police officials throughout the country were removed from office for ‘protecting’ Russian mafia operated illegal casinos. Even the son of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, who normally would be above the law, was recently interrogated about his connection with a luxury illegal casino near Moscow.
In early April, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev submitted a set of amendments increasing punishment for operators of tens of thousands of underground casinos and providers of illegal online gambling sites in Russia.
The new laws enacted by Duma, boost fines for individuals as well as companies convicted of any involvement in illegal gambling in Russia and mandates six year terms at prison colonies with manual labor for “organizers of gambling dens.”
In the past few months, Russian police closed down hundreds of illegal casinos throughout the country, yet observers claim that for every casino shut down, two new gambling dens open their doors just a few meters away.
According to online gambling news in Russia, what makes the situation even more difficult is the fact that lower level police officers feel uncomfortable raiding casinos owned and operated by their superiors.
There are currently four zones within Russia where gambling is permitted but unfortunately each is located in the most inaccessible and inhospitable area of the country. A now discredited recent news release promising the addition of three more special gaming zones in Russia has initially caused jubilation amongst the providers of internet gambling in Russia.
A senior analyst at the Brezhnev Think Tank reportedly leaked the geographic coordinates of the three proposed additional gaming zones in Russia. Unfortunately the incident turned out to be a prank as one of leaked zones was located in the deepest part of the Arctic Ocean, the second was located inside an active volcano, and the third in the middle of the radioactive ruins of the former Chernobyl nuclear reactor.