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Gambling addicts may be ruled 'incompetent' by amended Russian law

Published time: January 06, 2013 13:25
Edited time: January 06, 2013 17:25
A roulette in the Orakul entertainment center in the Azov City gambling zone (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)

A roulette in the Orakul entertainment center in the Azov City gambling zone (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)

Gambling in Russia may now result in something more serious than simple bankruptcy. The country's lawmakers have adopted amendments stipulating that gambling addiction is a legal basis for restricting a person's rights and freedoms.

­Individuals who put their family into difficult financial situations due to a gambling addiction, alcohol abuse or drug addiction may be ruled incompetent, the amended legislation stated.

The incompetent person would then be put under guardianship. The guardian would have the responsibility of dispensing that individual's income, whether it was a salary, pension or other form of income. The individual would still be allowed to carry out minor daily transactions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the amendments on Friday, which will come into effect as soon as they are published.

Similar legislation was introduced in Ukraine last year: If an individual there is found incompetent due to a gambling addiction, their relatives may seek guardianship and control over their financial transactions.

In other countries, gambling addiction is fought in less radical ways, such as counseling, peer-support programs and other forms of therapy.

Russia launched a war on gambling in 2009 when the country's lawmakers banned all casinos and gambling clubs across Russia. Four legal gambling zones were established in Vladivostok, Krasnodar Region, Kaliningrad and Altai Region.

The ban was a severe blow to the country's gambling industry, with many casinos moving abroad and others going underground.

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