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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 12:12 GMT
Russian law to restrict casinos
Gamblers in Moscow
Casinos will have to quit Russian cities by July 2009
Russian MPs have passed a law to drive casinos and slot machines out of Moscow and other cities, where they have proliferated in recent years.

The law was passed overwhelmingly by the lower house on Wednesday. It had been proposed by President Vladimir Putin in October.

By July 2009 gambling will have to be concentrated in four regions far from Moscow, the law says.

It bans gambling on the internet and at airports, supermarkets and other sites.

Russian gamblers will be restricted to the Kaliningrad region by the Baltic Sea, the Primorye region in the Far East, Altai in Siberia and an area in the south spanning the Rostov and Krasnodar regions.

The law also states that casinos must have a floor space of at least 800 sq m (8,611 sq ft). Halls with gaming machines must have at least 50 machines and a floor space of at least 100 sq m (1,076 sq ft).

Any gambling sites infringing the new rules will face closure from 1 July 2007.

Slot machines are currently found in various locations across Russia, including airports, supermarkets and apartment building lobbies.

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