According to reports in the Moscow News this week, Russian online gamblers can expect bad news in the near future as the politicians draft new laws banning online gambling, with provisions for punitive measures against anyone caught indulging in the pastime.
In July 2009 tough new general gambling laws banished non-sports betting land gambling operations to remote areas of the country, throwing the Russian industry into disarray and driving much of it underground.
The new proposal is authored and introduced by Ivan Savvidi of the United Russia party, and proposes fines between 500 and 2000 roubles for people gambling outside of the official gambling zones using mobile networks and/or the Internet, meaning that online casinos and poker will be illegal in Russia if the bill is passed.
"Previously the law only concerned organisers of gambling, and now the gamblers themselves will also be responsible," Savvidi told the local publication Gazeta.ru.
Savvidi claims in the proposal's justification notes that online gambling may be especially tempting to the underaged.
Russian lawyer Irina Tulubyeva told Gezeta.ru: "If the gamblers know that they will pay a fine, there will be fewer of those willing to play. And they are becoming partners in crime, even though the main punishment will still be given to the organisers."
The new bills are thought to have been prompted by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev's recent call to curb illegal casinos in Moscow.
Source: InfoPowa News