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On December 1st, a new submission from the Legal Department of the Office of the State of Duma was reviewed. This will probably prompt a new bill reading about the possible implementation of a new gambling regulator in Russia.
Prior to 2006, most major international gambling sites were accessible to Russians. There were even companies based out of Russia that offered their services to citizens. That all changed in 2006 when Russian updated its laws to ban internet gaming and restrict access to casino sites, poker sites, and sportsbooks.
Legislation passed in 2006 banned online gambling while legislation passed in 2009 banned all forms of gambling across the nation except in four designated zones. Nevertheless, Russians continue to gamble online at unlicensed offshore operators.
The Russian government also maintains a blacklist of websites that all ISPs are required to block. Included in the list are porn sites, websites that promote criminal activity, and, of course, anything related to gambling. The censorship program isn’t perfect, but it does make it difficult for Russians to access any form of internet wagering.
It is still possible to place bets online in Russia; it just isn’t easy. The Russian ISP blacklist does a pretty thorough job of filtering websites that offer real money games to Russians. That list was updated again in 2014 and it now includes the likes of PokerStars, Party Poker, Full Tilt, Intertops, and many other big names in poker and gambling.
Gambling has turned into one of the greatest policy problems for the Russian Government since the beginning of the 21st century because of the rapidly increasing number of slot machines and gambling houses. Casinos started spreading all over the country, which caused great concern for the local authorities, which were worried about the younger population.
In 1928, when Russia was under Soviet Rule, all forms of gambling were banned. This was the case until the late 1980s. Slot machines were legalized in certain locations in 1988, and the gambling ban was lifted completely in the following year. The gambling prohibition was fully lifted in 1989.
In the period between 1989 and 2002, it was a time of a sharp increase in the number of casinos operating in Russia, with over 50 gambling houses being run in Moscow alone. This type of entertainment became increasingly popular among local citizens, but the country’s regulation was relatively poor, which made the government take urgent measures to control the activity.
Except for four geographically isolated designated gaming zones, in 2009, gambling was made illegal in all other areas of Russia. That year, the activity was banned nearly everywhere in the transcontinental country as part of its strict anti-gambling policy.
A ruling from the Russian Supreme Court, in 2012, took the online gambling prohibition a step further. It stated that internet service providers must block sites operated by online gambling operators, with a view to making it impossible for Russians to access their services.
Online gambling restrictions
The strict anti-gambling laws make it clear that you are breaking the law if you choose to gamble online. However, Individual Russians face little risk in placing bets over the internet. There are laws on the books that stipulate a small fine for being caught gambling online, but it appears that there’s little interest in pursuing individual gamblers. Russian authorities are focused more on those who run gambling sites and underground betting parlors.
Reports from players show that there doesn’t seem to be any trouble regarding making deposits or the withdrawal of winnings despite presumably “eradicating” online gambling keeps being the apparent goal of the Russian legislation. The Russian Supreme Court in the aforementioned 2012 ruling, clearly stated that “no trace of gambling should remain on the web.”