Russia enacts stiff anti-gambling laws

by Lou on December 22, 2006

In a move designed to restrict, regulate, and control gambling, the Russian Duma passed legislation outlawing online gaming, and limiting land based casino gambling to four designated areas.

The bill is expected to gain approved in the upper house of Russia’s parliament and then be signed into law by president Putin. The bill passed in the Duma by a wide margin, receiving 428 of the 450 votes cast in the lower house.

The four designated gambling zones will be located at purpose-built resorts aimed at the tourist trade. According to the Russian news agency Tass, one of these resorts will be close to the Chinese border and positioned to attract Chinese tourists.

The Russian gambling policies are among the most restrictive in the world, with Russian authorities arguing that these regulations are required to counter a rapidly growing, illegal industry.

The new laws are slated to take effect in 2009.

These laws will seemingly drive Russian gambling underground, in much the same way as the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) seems to be doing in the United States. One big difference is that UIGEA did not criminalize online gaming, while the Russian law appears to make online gaming illegal, as well as any land-based gambling activities outside of the four designated areas.

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