TV and UK Extend a Betting Fix

A week after Betting was prohibitionned in Moscow, viewership for televised poker shows is rising, a London offshore betting locale is present to send private jets for high rollers and casino Betting addicts are dialing a hotline to whine that they can still find locations to wager their bets.

A federal law outlawed casinos and slot machines to four far-flung Russian regions past Wednesday, and 95% of casinos and slot machine halls had ejected their machines by Monday, Deputy Mayor Sergei Baidakov stated.

Police are on guard for outlawed businesses, and a raid at the Luzhniki market Saturday led to the seizure of 18 slot machines, he stated.

Police were dispatched Monday to a Zolotoi Arbuz slot machine hall near the Petrovsko-Razumovskaya metro station that was persistent in defiance of the prohibition.

The prohibition does not apply to lotteries, bookmakers and poker clubs, leading to predictions that the popularity of poker will soar. Ren-TV television started a poker show called “Poker Stars” in October last year and saw its audience grow over the season, spokesman Anton Nazarov stated. “There’s no doubt that the predicted growth of interest in poker as a sport in our country will attract new viewers,” Nazarov stated.

Television is “one of the best ways to market poker,” stated Erik Shakhbazyan, CEO of Poker Style Group, which broadcasts a twice-weekly show on television channel Sport. Ratings are “very good,” he stated.

But Shakhbazyan was skeptical about gamblers switching to poker en masse.

“Of course new players will come to poker who used to go to casinos, but not a big number,” he stated. “Poker is a more intellectual game. To play slot machines, you don’t need to know anything.”

Kommersant stated Monday that CTC Media was planning a television show about poker with French-owned production company Intelegencia. But CTC Media’s general producer, Vyacheslav Murugov, stated the plans had been frozen. “A little time ago, our holding held talks with the company Intelegencia on this question, but at the moment we have halted this process,” he stated, without elaborating.

Moscow City Hall has set up a hotline for people to complain on illegal Betting. An operator who answered Monday afternoon stated she had received 40 calls so far that day.

“It’s either people who notice that something is open, or [Betting] addicts themselves call up to say they thought that everything would be closed but they see that it’s not the case,” she stated.

She stated that addicts complained because they thought would be able to give up because there would be nowhere to bet, but that has not turned out to be true.
In his first remarks since the prohibition came into effect, President Dmitry Medvedev likened Betting to drug addiction in a speech shown by video link at the Seliger camp for pro-Kremlin youth activists over the weekend.
“In our country, unfortunately in the years of our new life, a huge quantity of Betting establishments were created where people spent hours frittering away their money,” Medvedev stated. “This kind of addiction is very similar to drug dependence, and our task today is to create modern conditions so that such a business can only exist in restricted gaming zones.”

Meanwhile, a London casino, Les Ambassadeurs Club, has reacted to the prohibition by putting together a package aimed specifically at Russian high-rollers. Gamblers can pay from $8,000 per person to fly from Moscow by private jet and then be chauffeured to the casino, stated the club’s spokesman, James Black. “Obviously, with the casino closures in Moscow, those who want to play roulette and traditional casino games can be interested,” Black stated. “We’re happy if the big players from Moscow want to come.”

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