Russia to criminalize unlicensed gambling

    The Russian government has submitted a bill to the State Duma introducing criminal punishment for the organization of unlicensed gambling out of specialized gaming zones, reports RIA Novosti.

    Currently, unlicensed gambling is punishable by administrative fines and seizure of property.

    Under the new bill, unlicensed gambling will be punishable with fines up to 500,000 rubles (US$7,600), compulsory community service for up to 240 hours, supervised release for a term of up to four years or imprisonment for up to two years.

    Granting a lease of a building that hosts unlicensed gambling carries heavier fines including a prison sentence up to four years or fines ranging from 500,000 to 1 million rubles.

    Gambling business was prohibited in Russia in 2009 with the exception of four specialized gambling zones: Kaliningrad Region, Primorsky Krai, Altai Krai and Krasnodar Krai.