New Online Gambling Ban in Russia

Bad news from Russia for online gambling

This week’s news from Moscow promise another period of hardship for Russian online gamblers as politicians draft new laws to ban online gambling, including punitive provisions for online punters.

Prior to this, in July 2009, the government introduced new general gambling laws which banished non-sports betting land gambling operations to remote areas of the country, driving a great part of the Russian industry underground.

In terms of the new proposal, it was drafted by United Russia party’s Ivan Savvidi, who suggested fines between 500 and 2000 roubles for people gambling outside of the official gambling zones using mobile networks and/or the Internet. This means that, if the bill is adopted, online casinos and poker will be illegal in Russia.

A local publication learned from Savvidi that “previously the law only concerned organisers of gambling, and now the gamblers themselves will also be responsible.” In addition, he claimed that online gambling may be especially tempting to the underaged.

The same publication spoke to a Russian lawyer Irina Tulubyeva, who told them: “If the gamblers know that they will pay a fine, there will be fewer of those willing to play. And they are becoming partners in crime, even though the main punishment will still be given to the organisers."

It is widely believed that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s call to stand in the way of illegal casinos in Moscow actually incited the new proposals.

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