Russian Gambling Laws – Russia has struggled to deal with gambling. It was banned during the communist era and then legalised during the late 1980’s. Following increasing social problems it is now only permitted in 5 designated zones.

History of Russian Gambling Laws

Russian Gambling Laws

USSR – The Communist Era

During 1928 gambling was banned following a report claiming that gambling was a bourgeois pastime not compatible with the spirit of the working proletariat. All gaming houses in the Soviet Union were duly closed. The end of Russian gambling.

Subsequently during 1932 a resolution was passed to regulate the state lottery business.

During 1988, in a drive to promote tourism, slot machines were legalised in some hotels. In August 1989 the Soviet Government lifted the ban on gambling and the first gambling house was opened in Moscow. The first casino opened in Moscow’s Savoy Hotel.

The Russian Federation

When the Soviet Union collapsed people started gaining interest in western cultures and poker was becoming popular. It was played in basement clubs, casinos and casinos. A new chapter in the history of gambling in Russia.

By 2002 Moscow had 58 casinos, 2000 gaming rooms and 70,000 slot machines. There was big concern that Russian citizens were becoming addicted to gambling. Money laundering and tax evasion were other concerns in this growing gambling environment. Such was the concern that in 2009 all gambling houses were closed overnight and a new law was passed to limit gambling.

The new law of 2009 only permitted gambling in four designated zones. The idea was to protect ordinary Russian citizens from being exposed and tempted into gambling. Only four small parts of the country would permit gambling in areas where foreign tourists would visit.

During 2006 online gambling was banned in Russia. Gambling websites within the Soviet Union were banned and shut down. Access to foreign websites was censored by IP address and the list grew considerably. The censorship of gambling on the internet was generally effective but some tech savvy Russians still use the foreign gambling websites. Censorship can be achieved by blocking IP addresses but technically there are ways around that.

Currently, only fines are issued for those caught internet gambling. However, the Government is still clamping down on illegal online gambling but focussing on eradication of the operators. During 2012 there was a Supreme Court ruling. They declared that all traces of online gambling must be eliminated on the internet in Russia. So now it is down to technology to prevent gambling in Russia.

Despite the ban Russians are pretty resilient and it still continues undercover in some fake internet cafes. It also continues under the radar in some lottery clubs and nightclubs.

The Annexation of Crimea

Crimea was annexed from the Ukraine during 2014. The Russian Government then added Crimea as a fifth zone where gambling would be permitted. The object was to attract new investment and increase visitor numbers to the Crimean Black Sea holiday resorts. Obviously the crisis in the Ukraine would affect visitor numbers to Crimea but action was taken to mitigate that. Russian State companies were encouraged to treat their workers to holidays on the Crimean Peninsula. Another initiative allowed Chinese tourists to visit without obtaining a visa.

Gambling Laws in Russia have followed a path from a total ban to liberalisation. Online gambling still remains banned. Read more about gambling laws in other countries.

Read more about other gambling laws in Europe:

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