The first-ever sentence for organizing a gambling business in Russia has been handed down in Magadan, in the country’s Far East.
Two members of a group that ran an illegal casino will now spend one-and-half years at an open prison, while their boss, the casino's owner, will spend two years behind bars.
All involved will also have to pay up to $1,000 – despite the fact that during the year the casino operated, the group netted more than $1 million.
Russian investigators are currently trying the so-called "gambling deal" in the Moscow region with several high-ranking police officers involved.
The Belarusian and North Korean foreign embassies in Moscow have also been accused of running illegal casinos on their premises. Both countries fiercely denied the allegations, and promised to investigate the cases. The Izvestia newspaper reported that the illegal casino in the Belarusian embassy scooped up an estimated 500,000 rubles per day.
The first radical moves against illegal casinos were made in 2009, when a federal law was passed restricted gambling to four special zones away from major cities. The measure, however, proved ineffective, as the gambling industry simply went underground.