January 01, 2007

Game Over

President Vladimir Putin is worried about Russians gambling their lives away, and this may spell trouble for casinos across the country.

“The state should have paid attention to this business a long time ago,” Putin said during a “direct line” call-in program on October 25, 2006 (see page 14). “Sadly, it’s not only the young people, but also pensioners who lose their last kopeks there (in slot machine halls).” 

Putin also likened gambling to Russia’s perennial alcohol problem, and shortly afterward submitted a draft bill to the Duma on regulation of gambling businesses. The bill passed through the first reading by a vote of 440-0 on November 15. If the bill becomes law, Russia will get a Las Vegas in Siberia and a tightly concentrated gambling business. 

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