This post is part of a series about European Poker Regulation
Poker is illegal in Russia since 2006, and yet by recent estimates as many as 8% of the players in Poker Stars are believed to be Russian. There is a lot of debate on what will happen with the country, as the decisions made by the government of this massive gambling market will surely affect poker worldwide for years to come.
Russian poker in 2016
Currently the Russian government is trying to interrupt poker and other gambling operations by blocking the poker sites at the internet service provider level, meaning that players who try to access a poker site from their browser will get access denied or some other equally depressing message. This strategy has seen mixed results, as determined players find new rooms to play at, and determined poker rooms find new domains to run their action from. But not all is lost in the snowy country, recent (January 2016) comments by government officials give hope to a bright future of legal poker in Russia regulated as a game of skill under new law. The reason is obvious, as 2016 rolls in and oil prices drop, Russia is looking for new revenue and betting sure is a luxurious source of revenue. Though there are no updated figures for the gambling market in Russia, figures from e-sport and gaming market show profits ~ €1.5 billion
Russian betting history
Gambling has in fact been illegal for the majority of modern history in Russia, with the communists outlawing any form of betting once they came into power. Once the USSR fell, gambling took off only to be curbed back again by recent governments. This of course, did very little to stall Russian poker players who continue to play online abroad despite risk of persecution. The Russian government
That is the state of things in Russia, the country where gambling is as popular as vodka.
The more we learn about eastern European poker culture, the more we become aware of awesome betting cultures all around, but the Russian poker culture is absolutely phenomenal. Though
Land based poker in Russia
Land based gambling in Russia takes place in 4 designated zones, all poker or any other betting that takes places outside of the designated zones is illegal and prosecutable by the government. Recently Russia has been trying to add a fifth zone, in Crimea, but first they need to achieve stability in the region before businesses can boom. Russia is not the country you want to vacation at for poker and we advise to limit your poker to encrypted online play in small sites with a guaranteed history of payment in Russia.