This week RIA news agency reported the closing of five online casinos in Russia, bringing the total of closed gambling sites in 2011 to over 170.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered all law enforcement agencies from every corner of Russia to find, raid, close, and incarcerate all traditional and online gambling establishments and their operators.
Draconian Russian gambling laws prohibit all forms of gambling with the exception of four designated economic zones located in the most remote areas of the country. Since the passage of the tough gambling regulations the corrupt Russian police has been doing its best to find and close casinos which are frequently owned by their police superiors.
The names of the five recently raided casinos have yet to be disclosed.
President Medvedev is fighting an uphill battle against gambling, orchestrated by Putin, the undisputed de facto leader of Russia. It’s not known why Putin passionately hates gambling.
It’s rumored, that as a young man Putin lost a game of poker to Soviet Premier Brezhnev when Putin’s pocket Aces got cracked by Premier Brezhnev’s 2-7 off-suit on an A-7-7 flop. While Brezhnev was awarded his fourth ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ medal for going all-in pre-flop with that hand, Putin began to despise all forms of gambling.
Law enforcement itself came under tremendous pressure after evidence was uncovered that a high ranking police official had a financial stake in one or more illegal traditional or online gambling sites in Russia.
Russian police, trying desperately to hold on to power, have been vigorously pursuing illegal operators and owners of underground online casinos. Just over the course of the previous weekend, police have seized over a thousand pieces of gambling equipment, made over 160 arrests and shut down 170 gambling locations in Stavropol region alone.