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Online Casino Gaming in Russia Banned

In the lower parliament of Russia, Duma, earlier this week, a new law bill passed to slow down the growing online casino market. If the Federation Council and President Vladimir Putin sign it into law, the new law regarding online casino gaming will create four gambling zones in the country, outlawing online casinos gambling and online poker. As it stands now, it sets the minimum gambling age at 18 years for citizens.

The purpose of this new bill is to restrict the uncontrolled spread of gambling outlets throughout Russia, including online casino gaming. After July 1st, 2009, any gaming facility operating outside of the four approved gambling zones will be banned. The State began the crackdown last year on gambling when President Vladimir Putin ordered lawmakers and the Cabinet to stop it and online casino gaming, especially in large urban centers. ‘The Chinese will gamble in the Primorsk region, where the casinos are already living off the Chinese. But you’ve got to be kidding yourself if you think you’ll find someone to sink US 100 million to US 1 billion dollars in some hypothetical hope that some day people would want to come gamble there,’ said Samoil Binder, deputy managing director of the Association for the Development of the Gaming Business.

This year, on October 6th, the president asked the Duma for four gaming zones. The Duma approved the law bill in its first reading, but they did not specify the location of the zones. Following intense debate the Entrepreneurship and Tourism Committee, Duma’s Economic Policy, defined the zoning locations when the bill was formally presented and approved on December 15th, 2006 for its second reading. Duma Deputy, Alexander Lebedev, explained that the committee took which regions would attract the most foreign tourists under advisement, and the distance of regions from Moscow to take the online casino gaming and land-based gambling pastime away from this area.

No gambling, both online casino and land-based, in Moscow could cause dramatic change, closing high-profile nightspots and the numerous slot machine parlors that have spread everywhere in the city. These include metro stations, underpasses and the ground floors of many apartment buildings. It seems online casino gaming and regular gambling will be hard to stop in Russia.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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