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Gambling Ban | Russia
Analysis
RUSSIA
The permitted alterna-
tive to casino operations
which were legal prior to
the ban - relocation to
four remote gambling
zones - has fizzled as
investors have shunned
the areas in Kaliningrad
on the Baltic coast, Pri-
morye in the Pacific east,
Krasnodar on the Black
Sea coast and Altai in the
Siberian mountains.
While there have been
isolated reports of
casino gambling contin-
uing in cities including
Novgorod and Novisi-
birsk, in the main the
ban has been compre-
hensive and has resulted
in an estimated 400,000
redundancies among
gaming industry
workers across the
country. Samuil Binder,
deputy executive direc-
tor of the Russian Asso-
ciation for Gaming
Business Development,
said that the decision to
no longer classify poker
as a sport underscored
the haphazard regula-
tion of gambling in
general. He said: “We
have a really silly situa-
tion in Russia - it is total
chaos.” According to
Binder, his association’s
members had obtained
70 sports poker licences
Russia plays its final hand as
in Russia, all of which
would now be nullified.
gambling ban takes hold
hen the Russian
W
government’s
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to lose their jobs in the wake of the Russian
not go ahead under these cir-
cumstances.”
gambling ban gambling ban, a supplement to which quickly closed a loophole that would have allowed The Russian news service
came into force on
clubs to operate poker tables. Dan Townend, Andrew Gellatly and Alex Lee report.
Vedomosti recently reported
July 1, savvy gam- Prime Minister Vladimir
blers immediately turned to Putin’s warnings against
poker as a means gaming enter- attempts to disguise gambling
tainment, which wasn’t tially, Moscow authorities closed by the Russian Ministry ment, poker was included on can be, but I’m confident we businesses as poker clubs.
covered by the legislation. The attempted to shut down poker of Sports and Tourism, which the list by mistake in 2007.“The can come up with a solution.” But what remains unclear is
move seemed inevitable: rooms offering tournament has now excluded poker from decision to include poker on While no date has been the extent to which the Russian
viewing figures showed a sharp poker games, but struggled to its list of approved activities. the official list of sports should mooted for the closure of authorities will go to enforce a
rise in audience figures for tele- find a legal basis for doing so. In an announcement, the be taken by special Ministry poker rooms that are currently ban on an already widespread
vised poker in Russia, while a But this is the new look Russian Minister of Sports and commission, but not by the in operation, the lawyer noted activity, and one that could prove
number of casinos reportedly Russia, one where the wheels Tourism Vitaly Mutko stated: chief of Russian State physical that the latest announcement far harder to implement than the
openly flaunted the ban. of anti-gambling are turning “We have made a change in the training and sport committee,” would nevertheless serve as an ban on slot parlours or casinos.
In the immediate aftermath with a raging speed. Only Russian list of sports, approved Mutko added. effective “cease and desist Still, the latest development
of the incoming restrictive leg- weeks later, the landscape had by the order of the Russian One Moscow-based lawyer, notice” to anyone planning closes down another front in
islation, former Moscow changed dramatically, State’s physical training and closely involved in gambling new poker ventures. the campaign against public
casinos were swiftly converted however. A loophole that had sport committee on January 1, regulation, admitted that the “This is sufficiently strong to gambling across Russia that
into poker clubs as the ban allowed poker rooms to escape 2004. We have stricken poker move did not come as a sur- dissuade people from doing began with the passage of a dra-
didn’t apply to lotteries, book- a federally-imposed ban on off the list.” prise. He revealed: “We are anything. If you were a prudent conian federal law in 2006, insti-
makers and poker clubs. Ini- gambling activities had been According to Mutko’s state- exploring what our next steps business planner you would gated by then-President Putin.
Games World | 05 | October 2009
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