Russian officials are looking into ways they could finally see the legalization of online poker in the massive market.
Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister, has instructed three government departments to investigate the possibilities of implementing online poker sites in Russia. The Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Economic Development have all been summoned to come up with feasible solutions to legalize internet poker.
Shuvalov’s staff stated that a deadline of July 21 has been issued to reach a conclusion. The government has started to take serious consideration to the matter after being pressed by the Poker Union.
Kakha Kakhiani, President of the union, stated that he had sought help from the Finance Ministry and the government after Russian poker players achieved considerable success at international tournaments.
Strong poker support among Russians
Current studies show that if a law is passed legalizing internet poker, then the government would stand to substantially profit from the industry. Gambling news reports that 2 to 3 billion Rubles ($58 to $87 billion) would be generated in the in the first year of operations. 1 to 1.5 billion would come from operators’ taxes and the same amount from players’ taxes.
Director General of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, Valery Fyodorov, stated in 2013 that Russian generally think differently of poker than to other gambling pursuits. Research indicates that 42% of Russians believe that online poker is an intellectual game, while 25% disagreed. Around 85% of online players think that poker is intellectual.