Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the government to improve legislation outlawing gambling, which has been widely flouted since it was introduced almost two years ago, the Kremlin press service said on Saturday.
Medvedev has given Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Justice Minister Yury Chaika and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin two weeks to propose legal changes that would support the country's fight against the illegal gambling business.
Illegal casinos have mushroomed across Russia since a law came into force in July 2009 banning gambling everywhere except in four remote zones.
The governors of Moscow and St. Petersburg have complained that the laws against gambling are inadequate, particularly regarding lotteries, which can be used to circumvent the restrictions on gaming, the Kremlin statement said.
A further problem is uncertainty regarding the punishments for illegal gambling.
Moscow police said last month that 388 illegal casinos were shut down in the capital just in the first six weeks of the year.
In a crackdown in February, a number of officials, including Moscow Region prosecutor Alexander Mokhov and deputy prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko were suspended after police found evidence that they "hushed up" an illegal gambling ring.
MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti)