Poker Shut Down in Russia as Federation Ordered Closed
The continuing assault by the Russian government on casino gambling, which quickly spread to envelop poker, has led to an order from the country's Prosecutor General to the Justice Ministry demanding the closure of the Russian Federation of Sport Poker. Authorities say the decree placing poker out of the category of sport and into the category of gambling amounts to removal of the federation's credentials.
As of July 1st, all gambling venues were ordered shuttered and gambling became illegal in all Russia, save for four distant special zones. Gaming has not developed in the zones, which lack infrastructure and are located in unappealing and desolate areas.
Poker had been exempted, as Russian law defined poker as a game of skill and, as such, under the ministry of sport. But casinos facing closure tried to morph themselves into poker rooms to skirt the new law, and officials acted quickly to cast poker out along with casino gambling.
The European Poker Tour had planned an August event in Russia as its first tournament in the country, but was forced at the last minute to relocate to the Ukraine.
Before the change in policy, Russian poker was booming, with players honed in online poker achieving high levels of success at the World Series of Poker and earning international respect for their play.
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