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Gambling virus mutates, pokes holes in legislation

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 14:36

Moscow: After the ban on gambling took
effect in Russia last year, the demand for quite expensive
tours to the United States - Las Vegas, first and foremost -
have soared immeasurably, according to travel agents.

The real gamblers, they claimed, will not stop at
anything to have a chance to succumb to their sinful
obsession. The facts of life show, though, that squandering an
awful lot to travel across the Atlantic for the sake of
gambling is not so necessary.

Since July 1, 2009 gambling institutions in Russia`s
territory have been allowed only inside four special zones -
in the Far East, in the Altai Territory, on the border of the
Rostov Region and the Kransnodar Territory, and the
Kaliningrad Region.

All of these zones have remained embryonic to this day,
and mass media say that in all large cities casinos are open
as before, although in a slightly different disguise.

In Moscow alone after the official closure of 525
gambling businesses one still finds 47 officially operating
bookmaker offices, 98 computer clubs, 73 lottery clubs and 59
lottery terminals.

Many Russians believe that the gambling business is alive
and kicking.

Moreover, it has gone more cruel and aggressive, and
quite often, more profitable. What is still worse, it may even
enjoy connivance with the law enforcers.

The ban on gambling has brought into being ever new types
of fraud. Gambling business owners have gone undercover only
to find many loopholes in legislation and to invent still more
sophisticated techniques of squeezing cash out of people`s

Internet clubs and lotteries are the most frequently used
tricks to make gambling fans pay.

Ordinary gambling parlors are in no hurry to hoist the
white flag, either. As the daily Izvestia reports from St.
Petersburg, a luxury casino keeps its doors widely open inside
the building of Emerald Hotel, just two blocks away from the
nearest police station.


First Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 14:36
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