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   Sunday, June 25 2017 
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Russia to legalize online poker soon

The Russian government is recently considering legalizing online poker, with a view to impose taxes on players’ earnings. Related documents have been brought onto discussion table these days. In Russia, gambling is prohibited by law except in four areas where regulated gambling market has been entitled special authorizations by the Russian authorities: Azov City (Krasnodar Krai), the Primorye (Primorsky Krai), Altai Krai and Yantarnaya (Kaliningrad Oblast). Any way, illegal gambling services including online gaming offers are still current despite the law. And by all accounts, online gaming is likely to sit beyond the law on gambling since its definition and delimitation remain unclear. This is the case of poker, which is mostly considered as a game of chance than that of gambling.



In the last couple of years, the Russian authorities have taken a step further into tracking down illegal land-based gambling rooms and online platforms. This year, they are poised to table legislative amendments and regularization of online gaming sites. For this to happen, “ a league of poker amateurs” has submitted related files to the Russian Ministry of Finance. Included in the files are 13% tax proposal on players’ earnings and 20% annual tax on the overall revenue of gaming operators. And in order to exclude all “addicted to gambling” persons along with under-age patrons from gambling, all players would be asked to present authenticated passports. Paralleling these measures, gambling providers would have to possess a license issued by the Russian gaming regulation body. In short, the new legislation is expected to clarify whether Russians gamblers have access to foreign online gaming platforms. The unpleasant fact is that Russia-based poker rooms do attract fewer customers than those operating in Gibraltar or the Isle of Man, among others.

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