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In Russia it is time for optimist for online poker proponents.

Even though online poker is illegal in Russia, the game is popular there and is played by many regardless of legalities.

Fortunately for poker fans living in Russia, soon they might be able to play poker without worrying about doing something illegal. It seems like President Vladimir Putin wants to legalize internet poker in the country.

It all depends on whether the lawmakers in Russia will decide that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance. Online poker may become legal all over Russia soon, if the lawmakers agree with what experienced poker players already know, that poker is indeed a skill-based game.

It is not completely clear why Russia is finally making progress on this matter now, but within a few months a decision could be made. If the law passes, poker site operators interested will need to accept the country’s regulation and get licensed.

Why Legalize Poker?

The answer to this question is quite straight forward. The main reason to legalize poker is money. The online poker industry is huge, the game is popular around the world and many Russian citizens already play it illegally. If legalized, poker sites operators will be taxed and regulated, which will probably cost them large fees.

According to a member of the Civic Chamber, banning poker games in Russia has only brought poker to underground illegal poker rooms. On this matter Pavel Sychyov said:

“We are trying to counteract the illegal online gambling, but we understand that it is very             difficult to control the Internet in principle”

In this same line of thinking, a chairman at a well-known Russia law firm, Mr. Evgeny Korchago, told Business Insider that banning online gambling only makes Russian citizens more prone to commit illegal acts.

Russian Councilman, Maxim Katz, said that the following happened after the ban:

“In particular, poker went underground after the ban,”

“The game did decline, but not for long. And the [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][national] budget stopped receiving taxes.”

Benefits for the Poker Industry

The popularity of poker dropped significantly after online poker was banned in the US. The brick-and-mortar game was also hurt after the ban, since a considerable number of players start playing poker online before they play it live. Of course, in Russia there are only four regions where casinos are legal since 2009, when Vladimir Putin legalized four casino zones in the country.

Russia has over 144 million citizens; poker legalization there would definitely impact positively the overall popularity of the game.

It is a long process and it won’t happen overnight, but lately there has been a more optimistic feeling about the possibility of playing online poker legally, than a year ago.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]