ccording to estimates from City Hall, 10,000 to 12,000 people in St. Petersburg work in the gaming industry, all of whom will become unemployed under the new rules, said Lidiya Mamon, the head of the Office of Government-Regulated Aspects of the Committee on Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade, Interfax reported Thursday.
The gaming law, which then-President Vladimir Putin signed on December 30, 2006, restricts all gaming activity to four zones located in remote parts of Russia: the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the Caucasus, the Pacific coast and southwestern Siberia. The restrictions go into effect on July 1, although the head regulator of Russia’s special economic zones said Thursday that the country will not be able to open the gaming zones in less than four to five years, RIA Novosti reported.
The city will compensate for the loss in tax revenues, which amounts to 1% of the city budget, by allocating the space formerly occupied by gaming venues to various retailers, Mamon said. Some of the casino owners have already been informed of the conversion of their establishments into restaurants or other retail and service-related businesses, she added.
As for the over 10,000 casino workers who will lose their jobs, Mamon said she hoped some will find new employment in their former place of work, while the rest will be able to appeal to government employment services for assistance.
In order to prevent circumvention of the new rules by renaming or remodeling gaming establishments, the St. Petersburg branches of the federal tax service and the Main Department of Internal Affairs will conduct monitoring to ensure that all “lottery technology” conforms to existing laws, Mamon said.