Proposed legislation in Russia fights online gambling

The bill would introduce fines for users of online gambling sites and for parents and guardians whose children get hooked on gambling.

Russia.- The legislature of the central Russian region of Tatarstan drafted a bill, under which users of online gambling sites and parents and guardians whose children get hooked on gambling would be fined. The proposal includes amendments to the Russian federal laws of gambling organisation and on licensing certain types of businesses.

The bill proposes that starting from next year anyone caught gambling on the internet would be fined between 10,000 and 20,000 rubles (US$150 – US$300.) It also orders separate fines of between 5,000 and 10,000 rubles (US$75-US$150) as penalty for involving underage persons in online gambling, whilst similar fines are suggested for parents or guardians who allow children to gamble on the internet. In addition, the proposed legislation introduces punishment for landlords who allow gambling on premises they own or rent. “If owners or sub-renters of real estate fail to take measures to prevent gambling by renters they should be fined up to 150,000 rubles (US$2,270),” reads the draft.

The existing Russian law forbids gambling and online gambling in the country, with the exception of several areas called special economic zones. The current law allows the state to block gambling sites without a court order, although it permits site owners to contest the decision if they deem it unfair. Furthermore, back in 2013, Russia introduced a law restricting the rights and freedoms of people officially recognised as gambling addicts forcing them to be put under guardianship.

Rafil Nugumanov, member of the Tatarstan’s State Council and one of the bill’s sponsors, said that he and his colleagues were concerned by the fact that people with gambling addiction keep gambling even when they know they are violating the law by using gambling sites. On the other hand, legislators maintain it would be impossible to curb illegal gambling websites without introducing responsibility for their users.