Russia Appears To Be Serious On Regulated Online Poker

More detail on recent moves towards legality

Further information has come to light substantiating reports last week that an unidentified Russian organisation is making headway in persuading the Russian government to legalise and regulate online poker (see previous InfoPowa reports).

According to the online poker information site Poker News Report the initiative has been underway since June this year, when Kakha Kakhiani, president of the Russian Poker Union, announced that the Russian government was considering the licensing and regulation of online poker in order to plug a 5 billion ruble ($146 million) gap in federal finances.

Within a month, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov instructed the Finance, Economic Development and Justice Ministries to produce a feasibility study.

This was completed in just three weeks, and concluded that regulating and taxing online poker has the potential to generate up to 3 billion rubles in its first year, possibly growing to around 5 billion rubles over the following three to five years.

The information site Pokeroff has since quoted a chief researcher at the Centre for Tax Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Finance, Vladimir Bauer, who opined that the draft proposals indicated that online poker would probably fall into the tax category of an "intellectual and commercial game" so that the genre could be insulated from online gambling and be taxed as an electronic service.

His view was supported by Dmitry Lesnoy, the Russian Executive Board member of the International Poker Federation. Lesnoy has previously campaigned for the legalisation, licensing and regulation of online poker in Russia.

Pokeroff reported that the tax proposals attached to the current draft for regulation suggest a 20 percent tax on operator GGR, along with the players themselves being taxed at 13 percent on all withdrawals they make from their accounts with online poker operators.

Interestingly, Pokeroff claims that the international online poker giant Pokerstars has studied the proposals and would be interested in licensing in the Russian market.

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa

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