The lower house of the Russian parliament passed on Wednesday presidential amendments tightening up the law on illegal gambling.
Russia banned gambling in 2009 except for in four remote regions. As a result, underground casinos have flourished. Prosecutor General Yury Chaika’s son was questioned recently by police in connection with an illegal casino near Moscow.
The amendments, submitted to the State Duma by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in early April, increase fines for both ordinary citizens and companies found guilty of involvement in illegal gambling and allow for prison sentences of up to six years for organizing gambling dens.
Police have shut down hundreds of illegal casinos over the past few months, but say that many more still operate.
Senior prosecutors in the Moscow region were fired in late April for breaching an oath of office by reportedly hushing up illegal gambling operations.