CASINO

Russia to toughen online gambling penalties; Taiwan unveils casino plan

TAGs: Russia, Syria, taiwan, Vladimir Putin

russia-law-gambling-penaltiesRussian president Dmity Medvedev warned last month that his country was about to bring the hammer and sickle down. Now he’s submitted to the State Duma a draft law that will toughen penalties for both land-based and online gambling violations. Medvedev proposes to amend the criminal code to stipulate “criminal and administrative liability for organizing and holding illegal gambling outside gambling areas or using information and telecommunications networks, including the Internet, and communications means, including mobile communications.” In typical Kremlin style, that’s the sum total of detail they’re willing to provide at this point.

Meanwhile, Vladmir Putin (Russia’s actual ruler) was shutting down land-based casinos in one of the country’s four special (read: remote) gambling zones. Putin issued an order to remove Azov City in Rostov from the list of approved happy places, after first eliminating the pesky law that said he couldn’t actually do so until 2017. Laws? He’s Putin! Don’t make him take his shirt off…

Syrian president Bashar Assad has shut down his country’s only casino in an apparent concession to fundamentalist opposition groups. The casino had only just opened in late December 2010, but instantly drew the ire of local clerics for running contrary to religious law. Now, with Assad’s regime facing the most open challenge to its absolute authority since 1982, it’s decided to offer protesters a few trinkets, like shutting down a rinky-dink gambling joint and letting schoolteachers wear their niqab face-veils. And if that doesn’t appease the rebels? Well, in 1982, the current president’s father Hafez destroyed a city and killed over 17,000 people. Protesters are calling for demonstrations this Thursday and Friday, which they’ve dubbed Martyrs Week. Careful what you wish for…

So, is anyone out there not looking to close a casino? Once again, it’s Southeast Asia to the rescue. On Friday, Taiwan’s plan to construct resort casino destinations on some of their outlying islands was officially presented by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC). While the MOTC folks claim to have been studying the feasibility of island gambling for years, the plan is unmistakably modeled on the boffo business done by Singapore’s two ‘integrated resorts’ since they opened last year. An attorney who helped the MOTC develop their proposal stated that he thought it was “possible to follow the business model Sentosa applied.” So which Asian nation will next turn its envious eye toward Singapore?

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