The name of Ulyanovsk, a Russian town on the Volga, has been popping up in the news recently. Only two weeks ago the place flashed across the pages of Russian science news outlets, when local paleontologists, who had discovered the fossils of a new ichthyosaur species a year earlier, finally settled on a name for the creature: ‘Leninia Stellans’ or ‘Lenin the Brilliant’, named after the town’s infamous son.
And now it is finding itself in Russian gambling news, following the bust of an illegal gambling den. The meticulous police operation, involving information gathering, covert surveillance and a decisive raid resulted in the seizure of 5 (five) slot machines, all crammed into a private apartment.
Along with the machines, authorities have also detained three suspects as they were attempting to flee the scene. They were found to be in possession of illegal proceeds from the slots.
Although this particular police operation may not warrant international attention, it is just one of many that have taken place since all of the country’s casino activity was exiled to specially status regions in Siberia in 2006. Ever since those changes to the Russian gambling laws it has been illegal to operate casino games or slots anywhere else, but in those designated areas.
The online gambling scene is also as desolate as Siberia, with lotteries and Fonbet – the only online sportsbooks in Russia – being the only legally accessible Russian game sites.
Private citizens – organized crime, to be more exact – have since been very creative in finding ways to circumvent this legislation. The Ulyanovsk private apartment mini-parlor is one of the more popular methods, since such arrangements provide good returns, ease of access and low profile operations.
Criminal gangs usually maintain dozens of such “neighborhood parlors”, shuttling between them throughout the day to collect the money.
Of course the machines at these underground gambling dens are rigged to pay out very little to the players, whose rights are not protected by anyone anyway. This situation is hardly convenient for gamblers, but those who do not wish to travel to Siberia and would like to try a larger selection of games than what is offered by the few Russian game sites are flocking to foreign internet casinos in massive numbers.