Casinos and Gambling in Russia

The history of gambling in Russia reaches back to the Middle Ages. Already in 14th and 15th century church imposed penalties on people for gambling. Ground breaking were the times of reign of Tsar Alexander II and Nicholas II - gambling flourished and casinos were opened on the mass scale. Than people started to fight against gambling again.



History of casinos in Russia

Gambling in Russia exists since a long time and since a long time it is fought against. Churches were imposing fines for gambling, the rulers were issuing decrees prohibiting gambling and were punishing even for card games, which were very popular among population. In the 17th century gambling was famous in inns, taverns and marketplaces. State was forbidding gambling but still was gaining fiscal benefits. The gradual flourish of gambling, first underground and than official, began at the time of Tsar Alexander II and Nicholas II. Casinos started to be opened and state lotteries were led on mass scale. When Bolsheviks came to power, gambling was banned again and ones practising it could be punished with criminal sanctions. Later, gambling was reborn in Russia, its beginning is said to be opening of  “Astoria Palace", the first casino in the USSR in Tallinn and a casino in the hotel “Savoy” in Moscow (both casinos were opened in 1989). Until the introduction of restrictive gambling law in 2006 over 6000 licences for gambling were issued and most casinos were located in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Law Regulations

Currently in Russia gambling law passed on 29th December 2006 applies.  It sets out the legal basis for the gambling regulations and also protects citizen’s rights and morality. This Act also introduced four special zones in the country in which gambling in legal. Casinos and Amusements Arcades which did not meet the requirements of the new law had to be closed. All companies offering gambling outside of designated zones, are operating illegally form the entry of new rules into force.

Where, when and what to play in Russian casinos?

Legal casinos in Russia are found if 4 special gambling zones. Casinos are opened everyday most of them 24/7. In their offer we will find different roulette varieties, poker and blackjack as well as numerous slot machines.

Cities in which land based casinos are located:

  • Artiom (Primorye Territory zone)
  • Bielokuricha (zone "Siberian Coin" Altai)
  • Port-Katon (zone "Azov - City" Krasnodar Territory)
  • Povarovka (zone "Amber" Kaliningrad)




Online casinos in Russia

Act regarding land based casinos from 2006 was very restrictive. A serious limitation of gambling was also reflected in the online casinos. However it in hard to enforce law enacted in 2006 because it does not precise scope of gambling, such as whether poker is a game of skill or chance. Under the law, web sites offering online gambling are prohibited but this prohibition does not apply to the use of these sites. Players from Russia, have access to different sites of foreign casinos that are available in the Russian language, their IP addresses however are often blocked.

Legal Regulations

Russian legislation in accordance with the Supreme Court of 2012 prohibit establishemet and promotion of online gambling sites, but does not prohibit the use of them. Because it is difficult to enforce the law, in accordance with the judgment of the Court suppliers of the Intrnet are obliged to block sites offering online gambling. According to the Court they may even lose their licenses for providing access to information about online gambling. In practice it means that not only sites offering online gambling are prohibited but also pages with information about online gambling.


Mass closure of casinos.

According to the law passed in 2006 until July 1st 2009 all casinos outside the gambling zones were to be closed. Moscow suffered the most because of this law because the largest number of casinos was located there. Changes resulting from the new law also contributed to a significant increase in unemployment. Due to the closure of most casinos in Russia, many people have lost their jobs. Officially given number of people who lost their jobs is 60,000, but unofficial sources say that up to 400 thousand people had lost their jobs.

The flourish of underground gambling

Alhough the new gambling law in Russia ordered the closure of casinos outside the special gambling zones, paradoxically in theses zones there are not a lot casinos, and beyond them underground gambling is flourishing. Although casinos outside the authorized places have been shout down, new ones as well as game arcades are beeing created, some of them in private homes. Since the introduction of strickt laws in 2009 a number of casinos instead of falling - has increased. The fight against illegal casinos continues, Only in January of 2014 in Moscow alone 10 illgal casios have been closed.

Las Vegas in Kuban

South zone of legal gambling in Azov City has been hailed as the Russian Las Vegas. It is an impressive area of more than 20 million square meters, moreover the offer is very rich. One of the two casisno created there, “Oracle” is intended only for VIPs. Plans also include the construction of the entire entertaiment complex around the casino in which luxurious hotel and spa will be awaiting guests. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Russian diva loves to spend time in casinos

The most famous Russian stage star, Alla Pugacheva, is a big fan of gambling. Before the new gambling law came into force, which greatly reduced the number of places where gambling is allowed, diva has been playing in casinos throughout Russia, especially in Moscow. Her record -breaking win at the casino was $ 2,000,000 win in one day, but soon she has lost that money. Because Pugacheva was attracting many players to casinos, casino owners heve decided to let her play for free becuase her presence itself was a good advertisement for casinos. With the eforcement of the restrictive gambling bill Pugacheva started to visit casinos in Latvia. Apparently she is considering moving to this country in order to play as often as possible in casinos.

A gambler, a writer

A famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, besides his literary works was as well famous for his huge passion for gambling. During his travel around Europe he visited casinos eagerly for example in Baden where he devoted many hours to playing games, among others, his favourite game - roulette. The writer unfortunately had no luck and kept on losing which led him to the brink of bankruptcy. To pay off his debt he has written a novel - “Player" - in one month time which cotained many autobiographical stories.