Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments Daily Fantasy Sports Poker Stories Podcast U.S. Poker Markets

Russian Poker Rooms Increase as Police Lose Control

Underground Gambling Increases in Russia; Police Struggle to Keep Up


MoscowAccording to The Moscow Times, Russian police have closed an illegal casino operated by a British citizen in an apartment in western Moscow. The owner, who has since fled, ran the casino for several months in his $60,000-per-month luxury apartment, raking in tens of millions of rubles in the process. He faces up to five years in prison if arrested and charged.

The casino had two poker tables, two roulette wheels, 10 gambling machines, and a bar featuring expensive alcoholic drinks including cognac for $15,000 per bottle. Police confiscated $500,000 worth of various currencies, gambling chips, and financial documents.

This case is the latest to occur in Russia as police struggle to enforce the law. On Jul. 1 2009, all poker rooms and casinos in Russia were to be closed down and replaced with four designated gambling zones across the country. The intention was to move gambling away from major city centres and towns, and bring business and tourism to other areas in need of it.

There was a lot of skepticism at the time about whether or not these zones would actually come to fruition, and controversy over whether or not poker could survive, as in Russia the game is categorised as a sport.

According to Russian news site,, police reports say the ban has failed to work so far and instead of closing all buildings where games of chance exist, officials say the number of poker dens has actually increased. Police blame the lack of resources to control the situation.

Despite those operating these casinos being extremely cautious in regards to who they allow entry and how the building appears, the police are, however, successfully uncovering many “underground” casinos.

The Moscow Times tells of yet another illegal casino bust in a two-story building outside the Tretyakovskaya metro station. Clients were admitted on recommendation and had to buy at least $3,000 worth of chips on entering the premises. There were security guards and surveillance cameras, but with all this in place, undercover officers paved the way for the bust by entering the casino as clients and buying gambling chips.

The casino operated four tables for blackjack and poker, a roulette wheel, and 21 gambling machines. Police confiscated 28 million rubles ($935,000) from gambling machines, 700,000 rubles ($23,000), $10,000, and gambling chips with a face value of $3.2 million.

Tags: Russia,   Moscow,   Gambling,   Poker,   Illegal,   The Moscow Times


over 7 years ago

The poker part of this operation wasn't very big at all if that's the right chip count. It was probably 3,312,500 in chip value, i.e. only five standard chip cases containing 662,500 each:

100 X 25, 100 X 100, 100 X 500, 100 X 1000, and 100 X 5000 equals 2500, 10000, 50000, 100000, and 500000 for a total of 662,500 per case.


over 7 years ago

Prohibition fails AGAIN!