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Russian Gambling Ban Has Unintended Results

15. October 2009 by Christy 0 Comments

A Russian gambling ban that went into effect on July 1st, 2009 has had unintended consequences: many of the country’s millions of residents have started to frequent newly-formed internet cafes created specifically to offer online gambling.  According to a recent article, the number of internet cafes has tripled since the summer ban, with many officials lamenting loopholes in the new law.


“We are seriously concerned about the rise of surrogate technologies,” Moscow’s deputy mayor Sergei Baidakov said at a recent news conference. “They are the byproduct of imperfect legislation."


In 2006, then-President Vladimir Putin passed the gambling ban, affecting all casinos and slot-machine arcades, in an attempt to combat the growing number of gambling addictions in Russia. The gambling legislation originally left poker clubs and online gambling halls untouched, but officials banned poker soon after the original ban went into effect, and they are now working to close the legal loopholes that allow online gambling.

While casinos are off-limits in most parts of Russia, the government has named four zones where it will allow casinos to operate: Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast, Primorye in the Pacific east, Krasnodar on the Black Sea coast and Altai, deep in the Siberian mountains. Unfortunately for casino operators, all of these zones are extremely isolated and none offer any infrastructure to speak of. To date, no operators have relocated their casinos and very few have any plans to do so.