Over 400 illegal casinos closed in Russia
MOSCOW, June 21 – RAPSI. Some 420 underground casinos have been closed since legislation was amended in 2009, Marina Gridneva, the official spokesperson of the Prosecutor General’s Office, said on Thursday.
“Following examinations, 36,490 illegal gambling venues and 420 underground casinos were closed. More than 550,000 units of gambling equipment were withdrawn,” she said.
According to Gridneva, over 53.4 million rubles ($1.62 million) in gambling revenue was recovered to the state budget.
More than 174.4 million rubles ($5.31 million) was collected in fines.
One of the most high-profile gambling scandals occurred just outside Moscow six months ago when an illegal casino ring was uncovered in 15 towns across the region. The scandal provoked a public uproar. Businessman Ivan Nazarov allegedly operated the casinos. According to law enforcement authorities, several high-ranking officials of prosecutor's offices and the Interior Ministry were involved in the casino operations, which generated $5 million to $10 million in revenue monthly.
The federal law on banning the gambling business came into effect on July 1, 2009. Pursuant to the law, all gambling venues were either to be closed or removed to special zones. Despite the ban, underground casinos and gambling venues are continuously being uncovered and closed. After the ban, many casinos and venues have operated under the guise of Internet clubs and lotteries.