New legislation has been submitted to the State Duma by the Russian government which makes the organization of unlicensed gambling outside of the specialized gambling zones a criminal offense, as reported by RIA Novosti.
Currently, seizure of property and administrative fines are the punishments for unlicensed gambling.
The new legislation would make the offense a criminal one and subject to as much as 240 hours of mandatory community service, up to 500,000 rubles (US$7,600) in fines, and either up to four years of supervised release or up to two years in prison.
Stiffer penalties, including up to a four-year prison sentence or 500,000 to 1 million rubles in fines, would be assessed for granting the lease of a building where unlicensed gambling is taking place.
Gambling in Russia is only legal in four regional areas including Primorsky Krai, Krasnodar Krai, Kaliningrad Region, and Altai Krai. In 2009, gambling was made illegal in all other areas of the Russian Federation.
Two more zones were added in 2014, Crimea and Sochi. In 2014 the Russian Federation annexed Crimea and to date has yet to be seriously considered for development. Sochi was host to the 2014 Winter Olympics and although there hasn’t been any confirmed projects for the zone, because most of the infrastructure and new buildings are already in place due to the growth of the Olympic Village, it will be the easiest to develop.