In recent years, Russia has come to be known as one of the stingiest countries in regard to anti-gambling laws. And they lived up to this reputation after one of their biggest internet service providers (ISP), Beeline, blocked the PokerStars.com domain name.
This decision was made by public officials, and it’s backed by a Supreme Court ruling made against online gambling sites in November of 2012. Any Russian trying to access PokerStars.com from the Beeline ISP now gets a message that reads, “Access to the requested resource has been blocked by the decision of public authorities.”
As for Beeline, this telecommunications company is based in both Russian and South East Asia. And it’s no surprise that Beeline complied with government requests since they’ve even gone as far as to block political websites that Premier Vladimir Putin didn’t like.
If there’s any good news to come out of this matter, it’s that Russian residents should still be able to access PokerStars.com through other means. However, the principle of blocking the world’s largest poker site is still annoying to those who back the legality of online poker.
What’s interesting in all of this is how Russia has a sizable number of famous poker pros. Ivan Demidov, Alex Kravchenko, Vitaly Lunkin, Maxim Lykov, Vladimir Schemelev and Vladimir Geshkenbein are just a few Russian players who’ve achieved worldwide fame through tournaments. Demidov, Kravchenko and Lykov are even part of Team PokerStars, which makes you wonder how long they’ll stay on the team with Russia’s aggressive anti-poker moves.
The bad thing is that it doesn’t seem as if the country will soften their stance any time soon. And the online poker situation could get worse before it starts getting better.