NALCHIK, December 2 (RIA Novosti) – Police have uncovered and shut down ten underground casinos with over 50 gaming machines in the capital of the North Caucasus Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, the republican Interior Ministry reported on Sunday.
“Economic security and anti-corruption officers of the Kabardino-Balkaria Interior Ministry have terminated the activity of ten underground casinos in Nalchik over the past twenty-four hours,” the ministry said in a statement.
The police seized 56 slot machines and a poker table, the statement said.
The organizers of illegal casinos have been indentified and will be held responsible, the statement said.
Illegal casinos have mushroomed across Russia since a law came into force in July 2009 banning gambling everywhere except in four remote zones.
In a crackdown in early 2011, a number of officials, including Moscow Region prosecutor Alexander Mokhov and deputy prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko were suspended after police found evidence that they had "hushed up" an illegal gambling ring.
Under the law, casinos and other gaming establishments can operate only in four remote areas designated for gambling: in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, south Siberia's Altai Territory, Primorye in the Far East and in southern Russia near the Sea of Azov.