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article imageRussian Government Shuts Down Casino Industry

By Andrew Moran     Jun 29, 2009 in World
The Russian government will close down all casinos and slot-machine companies by July 1st, 2009, which will cost the country 400,000 jobs.
The Russian government will close down every single legally operated casino and slot-machine in the nation. The plan, put forth by former Russian President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is expected to cost the country hundreds of thousands of jobs.
This is the biggest set of layoffs in recent Russian history, both politically and economically. However, the Russian government has given the casino an option: relocate to four different regions 4,000 miles away from the capital. None of the casinos are prepared for such relocation, and after the closure no casino is ready to be open for at least several years.
One supervisor at the Shangri-La Casino in Moscow said, “This is shaking my life to the core — such a blow for me and my family. The authorities are taking this step without thinking at all. They have not considered what this decision means for the workers. With the crisis, it is going to be very difficult for us.” Irina Mysachka, 32, is a single mother of one. The mother of a five-year-old will leave her son behind with her mother.
The casino industry has paid over $1 billion per year and they have been asking for reprieve however, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said, “The rules will not be revised in any way,” Pres. Medvedev said in a speech last month, “and there will be no backsliding, although various business organizations have been lobbying for precisely this.”
According to experts, the shutting down of casinos will cost the country 400,000 jobs in a time when the Russian economy will contract 7.9% in 2009. The government, however, have said the industry’s closure will only result in 60,000 job losses.
This did not happen within in the last year but since 2006 during a spy scandal between Russia and Georgia. Then President Vladimir Putin said in a statement, “It is not only young people, but also retirees who lose their last kopecks and pensions through gambling.”
Moscow’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, seemed to be happy with the final decision, “We will close them all. By July 1, Moscow will be clean.”
Many Russians were doubtful of the government’s initial plan to shut down casinos, according to Shangri-La Casino employee, Aleksander Osin, “We all thought that this was some kind of government thing that would not happen. But now we know.”
In the end, “only one person makes the decision,” said Samuii Binder who is the deputy executive director of Russian Association for Gaming Business Development. Of course, the man’s quote was referring to Mr. Putin.
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