After Russian President Dmitry Medvedev publicly threatened to turn up the heat on online gambling, the fight has moved to the Duma (Russia’s parliament). Ivan Savvidi, a member of Vladmir Putin’s United Russia party, has introduced a bill that goes further than any God-fearing, gambling-hating US politician would dare to go. Savvidi’s bill would impose fines of between 500-2000 roubles on the actual players caught gambling outside the official gambling zones via the internet and/or mobile networks.
Asked for her opinion, Russian lawyer Irina Tulubyeva says, essentially, fuck ‘em. “If the gamblers know that they will pay a fine, there will be fewer of those willing to play.” (Just wondering, Irina, is there a fine for public drunkenness in Russia?) Representing sanity, the deputy exec director of a Russian gambling business development association remarked that it was important “to judge what causes damage to someone, and a man who comes and spends his own money is not a criminal.”
Following Russia’s 2009 casino ban, the number of ‘computer clubs’ almost quadrupled in Moscow, suggesting there’s gonna be a whole lot of ‘geeks’ in the gulag if this bill passes.