Russian's enforcement community seemed intent this week in grinding down even further Russian gambling operators already cast down by the sweeping gambling ban consigning gambling to four remote regions in the vast country.
The Moscow Times reports that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has requested that the Justice Ministry shut down the Russian Federation of Sport Poker, after the card game was removed from a national list of sports amid a broader crackdown on gambling..
The prosecutors said in a statement that the decree removing poker as a sport had also “canceled the accreditation of the Russian Federation of Sport Poker.” The body’s registration, issued by the Justice Ministry in 2007, is valid until 2011.
Vitaly Mutko, the Sports, Tourism and Youth Politics minister, told Gazeta.ru that he “doesn’t understand the reason for the statement.” The federation and the sport “are two absolutely different things,” he was quoted as saying.
Under a 2006 law that came into force July 1, all gambling is restricted to four remote and largely undeveloped zones around the country, with the exception of bookmakers, lotteries and poker in specially licensed sports clubs.
But the game, and its former classification as a sport was used by casinos looking for a way to stay in business following the banning decree, and last month Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered loopholes, which had allowed casinos to keep operating as poker clubs, be closed.
On July 20, the poker variants Omaha, Texas Hold ‘Em and Seven Card Stud were removed from the approved sports list, drawing protests from the Russian Federation of Sport Poker.