Russia Moves To Criminalize Online Poker

Russia Moves To Criminalize Online PokerEarlier this year there were hopes the Russian Federation was beginning to soften its stance towards online gambling, and was considering opening up its huge market of 143.5 million people to Western firms. At the time, it was estimated that internet poker alone could channel 5 billion rubles ($146 million) each year into government coffers, but then the Ukraine Crisis erupted.
Since then, Russia has not only pulled back from its earlier position, but now seems more determined than ever to criminalize the game, after passing Bill 478806-6  in the State Duma prohibiting anyone from gambling at iPoker sites outside of the country’s four gambling safe zones, or now annexed Crimea and Sochi. Having cleared Russia’s lower house, all that is now required is a rubber-stamp from the Federation Council (upper house) for the bill to become effective immediately.
The draconian bill proposes that any operators offering illegal gambling products inside Russia should face hefty million ruble fines, as well as the prospect of four years behind bars, while individuals caught playing could also be subjected to a 500,000 ruble ($7,625) penalty and up to two years in jail. As Bill 478806-6, an amendment to the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code, states:
“Organization and (or) conducting gambling with play equipment outside the gambling area, or by using information and telecommunications networks, including the Internet, as well as means of communication, including mobile communications, or without obtaining permission in accordance with established procedure on the activity of the organization and conduct of gambling in the gambling zone is punishable by a fine up to five hundred thousand rubles or the salary or other income for a period of one to three years, or by compulsory works for a period of one hundred eighty to two hundred forty hours, or restraint of liberty for up to four years, or by deprivation sentence of up to two years.”
Following announcement of the new bill’s passing, some analysts have started questioning the timing of the restrictive bill, with some suggesting it is an attempt to deflect attention away from the accusations of corruption blighting Putin and his inner circle. Apparently, over the years  billions of dollars have been channeled into Putin’s top aides’ pockets, and an alleged $28 billion into his own, and so his crusade against gambling can therefore be seen as an attempt to cultivate his domestic image as a tough, moral leader, even as pressure continues to mount on the Russian economy.

Other news:   DOJ declines to appeal Wire Act ruling

Poker News
Mississippi Casinos Post Record Revenue in April as Sports Betting Beckons
04 Jun 2018
Mississippi’s casinos generated gross gaming revenue of $184 million in April, or 5% more compared to the same month in 2017. Furthermore, that total represents an all-time high for the state, and is 1.3% more than the previous record set in 2007 when thousands of volunteers entered Mississippi to assist in cleanup efforts post-Hurricane Katrina.
Switzerland Prepares For June 10th Legalized iGambling Referendum
04 Jun 2018
On June 10th, Switzerland will hold a national referendum to decide whether the ‘Money Gaming Act’ passed by the Swiss Parliament in September 2017 can be implemented next year in its present form. The piece of legislation paves the way for land-based casinos and local partners to offer legalized online gambling in Switzerland, although a
MGM Resorts International Buys NY's Empire City Casino for $850 Million
02 Jun 2018
Real estate and entertainment conglomerate MGM Resorts International has revealed that it’s embarking on a purchase of Empire City Casino, a slots and pari-mutuel wagering venue located in Yonkers, N.Y., just a few miles north of Manhattan. The deal was announced May 29 in a press release, and is expected to be completed near the
Delaware to Launch Full-Scale Sports Betting on June 5th
02 Jun 2018
Last month’s decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the sports betting ban in the country has opened the floodgates for individual states to legalize and regulate sports wagering within their borders. Before its decision was even made, though, a number of states had already put in place the necessary legislation in order to