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A 17th Century Underground Casino Found in Russia

An underground casino was discovered by archaeologists in Russia. Researchers think this new find will shed some light on how gamblers were able to hide their gambling activities after Tsar Alexis made gambling illegal. He was concerned about his subjects and their love of gambling which led him to this decision. He took his decree a step further by ensuring that those who transgressed the law were punished harshly. Those who were caught gambling either had their ears cut off or they were flogged.

However, the threat of such punishment was not a deterrent for some gamblers. They devised new ways to hide their gambling. The underground casino was discovered in Pskov Region in the west of Moscow. The researchers were able to unearth some artefacts such as a bench that had carvings of a game called alquerque. This game came second to chess in popularity amongst Russians in the 17th century. However, archaeologists believe that the game originated in the Middle East.
17th Century Underground Casino

Underground Casino Raids

In the case that the underground casinos were raided, gamblers would hide the games by sitting on the benches and covering them with cloths. The archaeologist’s centre of the region where the casino was found told the media that some of the pieces of the games were discovered in the previous year.

Gamblers in the modern day are no different from those that came before them. However, the laws aren’t as stringent as they were back then. In the 1990s, gambling in Russia grew exponentially when ordinary citizens were able to share in the wealth of the oil reserves.


Since the drastic rise of gambling in Russia, there has also been a rise in gambling addiction. This has led to the current president, Vladimir Putin, taking extreme measures to control the situation.

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