Russia ramps up illegal gambling crackdown

A Russian court has fined a local resident RUB 400 million (US$6.4 million) for organizing illegal gambling activities in Vladivostok, local media reports.

According to the regional prosecution body, the man organized a network of illegal gambling venues with slot machines in the Primorye Territory, disguised as internet cafes.

They are believed to have brought him RUB 400 million in revenue between 2012 and 2015.

This news came amid a state crackdown on organizers of illegal gambling activities. Earlier this week the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, passed a bill toughening penalties for organizing such activities.

The amendments to the existing law set the lower limits of fines for organizing illegal land-based gambling venues, from RUB 300,000 to RUB 1.5 million roubles depending on the number of malefactors involved and the amount of revenue gained.

The current law only envisages the higher limits of fines, which has occasionally led to a situation where a judge might fine an illegal gambling organizer as much as RUB 10,000.

And, according to the amendments, if an illegal casino is disguised as a betting shop, its owners and landlord face up to six years imprisonment.

Russian media outlets also report that illegal online casino Azino777 became one of the top online video advertisers in the Russian Internet in the first half of 2018, according to media research company Mediascope.

It reportedly gained a 7.1 per cent share of all ads in the Runet during this period and even outdid such corporations as PepsiCo and Mars and Google itself.

Despite the fact that its main portal and mirror websites have been blacklisted by Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor, it keeps creating new websites.

It primarily advertisers itself in illegal copies of films on pirate movie websites, which are quite popular in Russia despite being outlawed. Online casino advertising is also banned in Russia.