Online Gambling Coming On Strong in Moscow

Published Monday, October 05, 2009 -

Officials in Moscow are stressing out with their concerns that the recent prohibition on casinos and gambling in Russia is being replaced by internet wagering and lottery machines. The total ban on gambling in Russia caused the loss of thousands of jobs in the country.

Russian gambling has been relegated to four very distant areas of the nation where there is no activity as yet. Re-licensing in Russia is a very difficult and convoluted process that deters the average bookmaker or casino operator from moving forward. In the capital 525 casinos and slot machine parlours where once busy and now about a third of those operations are selling instant lottery tickets, Moscow Deputy Mayor Sergei Baidakov said.

The number of Internet cafes providing access to online gambling has tripled since July, in Moscow. Russia's gambling industry was generating $3.6 billion and employed about 400,000 people. Baidakov said, "We are seriously concerned about the rise of surrogate technologies," adding, "They are the by product of imperfect legislation."

Baidakov said the budget had suffered little from the ban on gambling, with tax revenues down only 0.5 percent. He said, "It's nil compared to the benefits to the health of the nation,"

Deputy Moscow police head Viktor Vasilyev commented, authorities are continuing to search out illicit casinos and slot machine halls, with police seizing 33 slot machines lately and shutting down 35 underground casinos since the legislation passed in July. It is expected that city and federal authorities will close the legal loopholes that allow online gambling and the unrestricted sale of lottery tickets. Some residents have voiced their delight that the slot machine halls and casinos have been replaced by restaurants, fitness clubs and deli shops. Shop owners and those who work in the restructured areas find that things are a lot quieter now.

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