Less than a month after all casinos and slot halls were exiled to the four corners of the land, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law that lets state and municipal racetracks run
bookmaking operations on-site.
There are 40 racetracks in Russia, only nine of which are privately owned. The law that banned casinos kept intact the bookie system for private racetracks. Now, publicly owned tracks will also be allowed to host bookmaking operations.
The change to the draconian gaming law came from Oleg Valenchuk of United Russia and Mikhail Starshinov of A Just Russia, two pro-government parties, according to the Moscow Times.
The law Medvedev signed mandates that bookmakers and private betting offices obtain a license to operate outside the designated gambling zones. A private bookmaker needs assets of at least 100 million rubles-about $3.4 million-to qualify.
Rostov-on-Don and Pyatigorsk, two of the largest privately owned tracks, have already received licenses.