Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) July 02, 2009 -- Taking on almost comical overtones, the Kremlin demands the gambling industry relocate to four remote regions in Russia, as far as 4000 miles from the capital. Areas no one wants to spend money in. Vladimir V. Putin promoted the move, to areas so remote that no one wants to invest in them.
Because of the isolation, none of the chosen regions are equipped to handle the immediate transfer of the gaming industry. No casinos are expected to open any time in the near future.
Less than twenty years after casinos were permitted to open their doors in Russia, the industry's workers will be left without employment.
"This is shaking my life to the core â such a blow for me and my family", said Irina Mysachka, 32, a single mother, a supervisor at the Shangri-La Casino in Moscow.
The law was first introduced in 2006 by President Putin, the then prime minister. He spoke about the dangers of the black jack tables and the one-armed bandits and of desperate characters who control the gambling industry. The industry is said to pay more than $1 billion in taxes every year.
Many business organizations tried lobbying for a reprieve, but President Putin and President Dmitri A. Medvedev would give no leeway. "The rules will not be revised in any way", Medvedev said last month. "There will be no backsliding".
The gambling industry states that the move will leave more than 400,000 workers unemployed. The industry has been largely unregulated since the USSRâs fall in 1991. Anyone with $50 in their pocket could obtain a license. It was believed the Georgian diaspora had an enormous influence over gambling inside Russia.
29 year old Aleksei Ustinenko said, "Here we are, in one of the biggest, most beautiful, most expensive cities in the world and yet other people can decide that I cannot gamble if I want to".
Workers have been pulling down casino signs and removing slot machines from all over Moscow. By July 1st it is claimed that Moscow would be a gambling-clean city.
It is expected that underground casinos will be quickly established, in spite of the government's ruling. Just as when America declared Prohibition between 1919 and 1933 - illegal bootlegging flourished.
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