Hundreds of Russian slot halls closed

More than 300 slot machine halls have stopped operating in St. Petersburg since January 1, according to local officials, as regional legislation now prohibits the existence of such halls in the city.

Casinos will be permitted to operate until June 30, 2009, City Hall’s Committee for Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade (CEDIPT) said Wednesday in a statement.

The new regional law restricting gambling was approved by City Hall on June 13 last year, and supplements the federal law on gambling. Casinos are allowed to keep operating in the city only on the condition that they meet the requirements of the federal law concerning the number of gaming tables, total area of the hall, personnel employed and the size of the authorized capital stock.

At the beginning of December last year, the St. Petersburg government initiated an investigation to ensure that the new legislation was being enforced. The regional branch of the Federal Tax Service is responsible for control over the gambling industry and for applying the new law in practice.