5/19/10 – Expats running makeshift poker rooms and casinos from expensive apartments are just one of the many enforcement problems encountered by Russian police in attempting to enforce the blanket bans on gambling in Russian cities imposed by President Vladimir Putin in July last year.
In a typical case, the Moscow Times newspaper reports that a Brit, who has since escaped the country, operated a casino from his $60 000 a month luxury Moscow apartment, making tens of millions of rubles before the operation was closed down.
Police confiscated $500 000 worth of various currencies, gambling chips, and financial documents.
Widespread police reports indicate that the ban has so far proved ineffectual as entrepreneurs set up illegal casino and poker operations to meet high demand from Russian punters, who are not prepared to travel long distances to the four remote regions in which gambling is officially permitted.
The police are also battling to contain internet gambling sites, many of which target Russian language gamblers.