According to Pokerfuse, one of Russia’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) blocked the international version of PokerStars.com, following a law of the Russian Supreme Court dated back from 2012.
Russian poker players are one of the largest fan communities in poker. According to PokerTableRatings site, Russia is the 4th country in the world in terms of number of players.
Some time back, online poker in Russia could enjoy a special status despite censorship. But in November 2012, the Russian Supreme Court made a decision also involving online games, following a dispute over Rostelecom, one of the ISPs. The Supreme Court ruled that it is illegal to disseminate information which is forbidden under Russian law, including, but not limited to, online games. The court also found that providing access to prohibited information is equivalent to the distribution of this information.
Therefore, ISPs now have the responsibility to block access to some internet contents, or else they would jeopardize their license.
Thus Beeline, a leading Russian ISP decided to block the use of PokerStars software, thus preventing users from playing on PokerStars.com.
In July 2009, Russia saw enacted a law prohibiting gambling. Consequently, 3,900 illegal casinos and 25,000 playrooms have closed their doors, according to RIANovosti. Today, only four areas of the country allow live games, but they are located in remote areas which are inaccessible to most Russians.
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