International edition
June 22, 2021

According to police reports

Illegal gambling on the rise in Russia

(Russia).- Following the Russian government’s decision to relegate casinos and slot arcades to designated gambling zones on the outskirts of the country, police reports have indicated that illegal gambling operations have risen dramatically.

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n an exclusive interview with the BBC, Col. Oleg Bolderov of the Russian police’s economic crimes department told the organisation that since the government gambling ban came into effect last July, thousands of raids have taken place across the country.

"We have closed down 70 casinos and 4,000 slot-machine arcades,” explained Col. Bolderov of his unit’s struggle against illegally-run casinos. “So far, we have brought 600 criminal cases against those trying to organise illegal gambling," he added.

However, despite the police crackdown on illegal gambling in Russia’s cities, sources connected to the formerly legal casino industry say that underground gambling dens are flourishing in Moscow, St Petersburg and other further-flung cities in the country.

With the gambling law introduced last year seemingly only succeeding in driving casinos and slot arcades underground, there are already calls for the legislation to be amended this year to ensure a fairer, better-regulated gaming industry in Russia.

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