4,000 illegal casinos closed down in Russia under new law

About 4,000 illegal casinos and over 25,000 gambling parlors have been closed down in Russia since a new law on gambling came into force in 2009, a senior police official said.


“As of today, 3,900 illegal casinos and more than 25,000 gambling joints, posing as lottery clubs, have been closed down,” Sergei Ivanov, a head of a department at Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper.


“More than 390,000 pieces of gambling equipment have been confiscated and the amount of fines has topped 91 million rubles [$3 mln],” Ivanov added.


The official said 1,100 criminal cases have been launched against the suspected organizers of illegal gambling business.


Underground casinos have mushroomed across Russia since the law banning gambling everywhere except in four remote zones of the country came into force in July 2009.


In a crackdown in February, illegal casino owner Ivan Nazarov, his assistants, and three high-ranking police officials who guarded the illegal business were accused of fraud and held on remanded until August 15 pending investigation. The case has sparked a high-profile conflict between the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office.


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