In 2009, Russia banned gambling, allowing citizens only to take part in sportsbetting activities. Now, the country is going after online gambling, looking to impose fines on any residents who are caught playing at online casinos.
The legislation was introduced by Ivan Savvidi, who wants the law to focus on gamblers in addition to gambling operators. The proposed fines range anywhere from 500 to 2000 roubles if Russian citizens are caught playing casino games either on the internet or on their mobile phones from inside the country’s borders.
Savvidi believes that imposing fines on players across the country will help to cut back on underage gambling and gambling addiction. There is no proof that online gambling encourages these two outcomes, but Savvidi is determined to ban citizens from playing at online casinos. He also plans on banning the use of slot machines throughout Russia.
The new bill has been met with some resistance, however. Samuil Bender of the Russian Gambling Business Development Association does not believe that online casino players should be prosecuted for their actions.
“A man who comes and spends his own money is not a criminal”, he says.
Russian citizens are also none too pleased with the idea of an online gambling ban. Playing at online casinos has become a popular leisure activity, and there are even some players who earn their living by playing poker online. With the increasing popularity of the activity, it appears that banning it is not the best solution, but rather regulating the industry to make it safer for players.