Medvedev moves to toughen gambling law

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed changes to tighten up the law on illegal gambling, a month after senior regional prosecutors were accused of protecting underground casinos.

In February, investigators suspended Moscow region prosecutor Alexander Mokhov and his deputy, Alexander Ignatenko, over allegations that they “hushed up” massive illegal gambling operations. Several others in the department were also targeted in a major corruption probe.

The proposals suggest making it a criminal offence to organize and manage illegal gambling operations, an activity currently classified as “running an unregistered enterprise,” the Kremlin said on Saturday.

The proposed changes are now subject to ratification by the legislature.

The 2009 law confining gambling to four remote Russian regions has caused the number of illegal casinos to skyrocket, and created greater opportunities for corruption.

In Moscow alone, police have shut nearly 400 illegal casinos in recent weeks but say that hundreds more still operate.

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti)

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