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Foreign embassies in Moscow allegedly provide gambling services — senior lawmaker

December 17, 2014, 17:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian parliament's upper house speaker, Valentina Matviyenko says she has objective grounds for what she is talking about and gambling outside special areas is contradictory to the Russian law
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© EPA/SHAUN FELLOWS

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. A number of foreign embassies in Moscow allegedly have gambling areas contradictory to the Russian legislation, which allows gambling only in specially designated regions, Valentina Matviyenko, a speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house, said on Wednesday.

Addressing a parliamentary session of the Federation Council, Matviyenko ordered the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs to hold explanatory talks on the issue.

“Believe me that I have objective grounds for what I am talking about right now,” she said addressing the session. “This is unacceptable. The Russian legislature is very strict in this regard and the diplomatic missions should definitely behave in the proper manner.”

According to Matviyenko, diplomatic missions enjoy territorial immunity, but it is necessary to hold talks with them via the Foreign Ministry “on the inadmissibility of violations on the territories of these embassies.”

Gambling restrictions in Russia

Gambling in Russia had been restricted to special gambling zones several years ago. In 1990s, the period of the development of the "wild capitalism" in the country, casinos and slot machine halls had literally flooded the country, especially large cities.

The number of Russians who "got hooked on" the gambling business that they had not known during the Soviet period, was steadily growing.

According to data from the Russian Health and Social Development Ministry, in Moscow alone, more than 300,000 people suffered from gambling addiction in the middle of 2000s.

In order to curb the evolving problem, Russia passed a law prohibiting gambling business in the country, except for the especially designated areas. Starting from 2009, gambling establishments remained only in four zones — in Altai and Primorsky Territories, in the Kaliningrad Region and the Krasnodar Territory. And only the latter — Azov City — is actually operational at the present time.

The resort city of Yalta in Russia’s Crimea is currently under consideration to become the fifth gambling zone in the country.

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