Russia clamps down on illegal gambling

Russia clamps down on illegal gamblingRussian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill into law to impose tougher penalties on illegal gambling operators in the country.

The bill, which has been published on the government’s legislation portal, outlines the new measures for illegal gambling website and shop operators.

According to the Rapsi news service, those found guilty of breaching Russia’s gambling laws could face fines of between R300,000 (€4,300/$5,300) and R500,000, or an amount that is equivalent to the offender’s income for a period of one to three years for organising unauthorised gambling.

The report added that wrongdoers could also face up to 240 hours of compulsory community service, restriction of freedom of up to four years and up to two years in prison.

Under the new bill, fines can also be levied on unlicensed gambling activities in venues situated outside the four government-designated zones.

For almost five years, gambling has been banned across Russia, except for Vladivostok, Altai Territory, Kaliningrad and the Azov Sea/Black Sea area. In July, Putin signed a bill to create gambling areas in Crimea and Sochi.

Russia holds a stringent stance against online gambling, and has blocked access to websites by restricting regional ISPs and imposing transactional payment blocks on Russian credit card payments.

Earlier this month, internet company Google apologised to Russian authorities after gambling advertisements appeared on online searches in the country.

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