The curtain has finally fallen on almost all gambling casinos and gaming halls in Russia. The Russian capital has more than 500 places where you can gamble including 30 casinos.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin came up with the idea three years ago after the interior ministry linked a number of gaming operations in Moscow to a Georgian criminal organisation. But the sector has provided employment for up to 400,000 people. Elena Zarubina, a Russian slot machine operator is one of those affected by the closures. She said: “I would like to take a rest, a holiday and after that I will think about a new job.” Gambling in Russia reportedly generates some five billion euros a year and the government pockets about 700 million euros in taxes. From today the government will replace the casinos with Las Vegas-style gaming zones in four rarely visited regions that it sees as needing investment. Yuri Boyev, director general of the “Metelista” entertainment complex is among those critical of the government’s measures. He said: “We obeyed the law, but our government, unfortunately, does not obey the law, and the zones are not ready because the second part of the law stated that gambling zones should have been created.” The idea has been described by an independent monitor as dead and unrealistic. Other critics of the Russian government plan, which will cover the country’s 11 time zones, said it is doomed by a lack of investment, especially in times of economic crisis.