Illegal operators could face prison in Russia

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Organisers of illegal gambling in Russia could soon face tough prison sentences under new proposals put forward in the country’s Parliament.

Those currently found guilty of offering unlicensed gambling face seizure of property and administrative fines.

However, new legislation proposed in the State Duma would make the offence a criminal one and subject to as much as 240 hours of mandatory community service, up to R500,000 (€6,700/$7,600) in fines, and either up to four years of supervised release or up to two years in prison. The RIA Novosti website also said that prison sentences of up to four years or fines of up to R1m could be imposed for those found guilty of owning a premises where unlicensed gambling is taking place.

Gambling in Russia is only allowed in specific regional areas, and was made illegal in all other parts of the country in 2009. The first casino in Sochi is expected to open this month, with gambling properties also legal in Crimea, Primorsky Krai, Kaliningrad Region and Altai Krai. Casinos are also allowed in Krasnodar Krai, although President Putin recently ordered them to be closed by the end of 2019.

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