Even though some speculations emerged in Russia over the last couple of years that online poker may soon be regulated and legalized, unfortunately, it is still currently deemed illegal as Russian law strongly consider it officially as a "game of chance". Though that's the case, thousands of Russian residents still opt to play online poker via offshore websites. Should you be a Russian who enjoys playing online poker, then you better watch out because from now on, you will face a fine if you get caught.
The legislature of Tatarstan, a federal subject of Russia, has drafted a bill that, if it passed, would penalize those who gamble online by making them pay a fine. The draft mainly targets frequenters of unauthorized gambling sites, especially players of online poker. The Republic of Tatarstan has more than 3 million residents.
State Councilor Rafil Nugumanov, one of the bill's sponsors, said that this bill is designed to combat against gambling addiction and also to serve as a way to drive out illegal iGaming operators. He added that he and his colleagues were concerned that people who have gambling addiction issues tend to end up in dire straits even though they initially are aware of the fact that they are violating the law by playing at gambling websites.
The bill states that anyone caught playing at online gambling websites will face fines of between 10,000 to 20,000 Rubles (about $150 to $300). The bill also demands separate fines of between 5,000 to 10,000 Rubles (about $75 to $150) to be imposed on parents or guardians who permit underage individuals to gamble online.
Also included in the bill is a punishment meant for landlords who allow gambling-related activities on the places they rent out. The document states, "If owners or sub-renters of real estate fail to take measures to prevent gambling by renters they should be fined up to 150,000 Rubles (about $2270)."
Nugumanov said that the bill was deemed necessary because people will just abuse the freedom to play poker and other casino games at unauthorized online gambling sites, and these fines will hopefully "thwart" that urge to engage in online gambling.