Russian Online Poker Clampdown Biggest Blow Since Black Friday?

Russian Online Poker Clampdown Biggest Blow Since Black Friday?In November 2012, the Russian supreme court made Internet service providers (ISP) responsible for blocking gambling sites inside the country. However, no concerted effort was made to enforce the legislation until March 21st 2014, when Russia’s federal telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor reported a directive was received from the prosecutor’s office demanding its list of blacklisted gambling websites be blocked.
As a result, more than 50 gaming websites have now been blocked from offering their products in Russia, including major gambling sites Pokerstars, Ladbrokes, SportingBet, UniBet, Betway and TitanPoker.
Russia has a vast population of 143 million people with the country’s poker players making up a large proportion of the online poker market. Following announcement of the measures now being pursued by Russian authorities, poker players around the world are naturally concerned this could deal the biggest blow to the online poker ecosystem since American players exited the global market on Black Friday.
The original supreme court ruling made it illegal to “disseminate information that is restricted in accordance with Russian law, including, but not limited to, on gambling.” Nevertheless, just the gambling websites were blocked, thus allowing canny players to bypass the ban by going through other Domain Name Systems, such as Google. The latest Russian Internet service providers to block the gambling websites, namely Rostelecom, MTS, and, have raised concerns amongst online poker players that the country’s authorities will soon try to implement a ban on the gambling sites’ software as well.
The uncertain situation is already having a profound effect on the approach of gambling operators to the Russian market, many of whom have decided to cut and run, including Betclic, EverestPoker and Bet-at-home. Unibet Group, too, has stopped accepting new Russian players, with a company statement, explaining:
“Unibet has taken the decision to temporarily close registrations from Russia. This means that it will no longer be possible for customers from Russia to sign up on or This change will take place immediately, but will not affect existing customers. It will also still be possible for customers to sign up from all other Russian-speaking countries and those markets should not be affected at all. Russia will no longer be listed as an option for country of residence on the registration form of or”
Optimistic analyst have expressed the hope that Russia’s latest move may simply be an isolated incident. Unfortunately, this view does not seem to reflect that of the majority, with Gaming Intelligence  stating that “while a limited number of gaming domains currently appear on the list, it is believed that this is the start of a much wider crackdown on online gambling.”
How the situation unfold from here on is anyone’s guess, but Russia’s move has raised a great deal of consternation for the poker industry, which already has been suffering continuing declines since the US DoJ implemented its own shut down on Black Friday in 2011.

Other news:   Multi-state online poker compact bill introduced in Pennsylvania

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