Russian Online Poker Clampdown So Far Ineffective

Russian Online Poker Clampdown So Far IneffectiveSince June 2009 when Russian lawmakers reorganized the entire country’s casino market by restricting play to just four isolated gambling zones, shedding 400,000 jobs in the process, the vast country has introduced a number of other measures designed to reign in its gambling industry.
One such measure occurred in 2012 when a Supreme Court ruling made it illegal for websites to disseminate gambling information inside Russia, a responsibility which was then placed on Russian Internet service providers such as Beeline, which in September 2013 subsequently blocked access to PokerStars.com “in accordance with the legislation in force.”
In spite of Russia’s forceful approach, however, internet gamblers have easily been able to by-pass the block and access PokerStars, as well as many of the 50 plus sites which currently appear on Russia’s infamous gambling blacklist, using public DNS’s, VPN’s and anonymous proxy servers. Furthermore, to date there has been no significant disruption reported for online payment processors handling gambling transactions within the vast country.
As the USA has already discovered, Russian authorities are having a hard time trying to dissuade online poker and gambling companies from operating within the so-called grey market, and as a PokerStars statement explained last year after having the sites “.com” domain blocked:
“We are aware of the recent situation in Russia. At this time we do not believe this changes our ability to offer services to Russian players. As such our operations continue as usual.. Our terms and conditions make it clear that our services are not for use in jurisdictions where it is illegal to do so, but the measures taken by Roskomnadzor, and the resulting action with the Common Registry of Banned Websites that prevents access to our PokerStars.COM website, does not affect [the] ability to continue playing at PokerStars.”
Consequently, Russia’s anti-gambling crusade seems to currently have succeeded only in channeling Russian gamblers away from its once thriving land-based casino industry and into the arms of underground card rooms and the numerous offshore gambling sites which still continue to offer their products inside the country of 143 million people.

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