Russia to Clamp Down on Gambling

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Russia may be cracking down on foreign casino operators

Russia is now clamping down on unauthorized gambling in a broader sweep to make sure that illegal business activities are snuffed out. The country is mobilizing its Federal Tax Service (FNS) to carry out the mission of identifying illicit activities and hitting them with the full force of the law.

The Crackdown Begins

According to Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, FNS deputy head Daniel Yegorov has said that the institution he represents has undertaken a massive push to uproot all activities that have to do with illegal and undeclared proceedings. This will have the financial watchdog now examine the financial information of hundreds of thousands of citizens.

However, to do so, the FNS will have to receive the go-ahead by the Ministry of Finance, which has not yet come with an official comment on the matter. The FNS wants to examine banking accounts, which will help it tell whether there have been discrepancies in the finances of the individuals it will choose to audit.

Meanwhile, Russian lawmakers have been working on amendments to the law that will in fact allow them to order banks to submit information to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, the equivalent of the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, which will allow the country to track all withdrawals of funds from Russian ATMs with bank cards issued from foreign countries. More laws affecting foreign operators, including the one passed on May 25, are now threatening to wall off any foreign operators.

Looking Over One’s Shoulder All the Time

To be perfectly honest, the Russian government has been insistent about controlling every aspect of the financial industry at home, creating stern inside rules which effectively may stifle certain businesses. The measures will, of course, have an effect on the gambling industry as well.

Under the newly-proposed offers, Russia may see internationally licensed operators to come under a lot of pressure. While this will be done under a pretext of seeking to overcome illicit gambling, which has been long a drag on the country’s public purse, the local gambling boss will benefit the most from finding a reason to curtail the operations of legalized casinos at home. And yet, this is a far cry from the clampdown that began in 2009.

A Botched Job

To say that Russia has not been interfering with how the casino industry in the country runs is to grossly exaggerate. As the FIFA World Cup progresses, there have been reports about a spike in the traffic of local gambling websites, which are the owners of a select few well-known figures at home, close to the Kremlin.

With this in mind, international operators have been on the receiving end of generous censorship, which had seen their revenues flounder. The FIFA World Cup may have been outwardly calm and civilized, but this hasn’t stopped the forces that be to find a way to finally start pushing international competition out of their scope. This applies to poker sites as well.

While financial concerns are genuine and illegal gambling den certainly exist, they are not abetted by the well-established names of the industry. Especially not in Russia where going against the law, especially if a foreign entity, has consequences that are little desired by any business owner. Russian gambling monopolists are finally channelling the country’s authorities to do its dirty business for it.

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