Russia considers legalizing online poker

    Russia is considering legalizing online poker in a bid to generate tax revenue, according to a Kommersant report. Such a move may bring as much as $146 million revenue a year into government coffers, it said.
    First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has ordered the Finance, Economic Development and Justice Ministries to analyze the possibility, following a request from Poker Union president Kakha Kakhiani, the report said, citing unnamed government sources.
    As well as raising money for the government, it would help Russian players succeed in international competitions, Kakhiani said.
    Poker used to be a sport in Russia, according to an October 2007 decree by the Federal Sports Agency. In June 2009, the Ministry of Sports excluded poker from the national sports registry and qualified it as gambling after many poker clubs turned out to be illegal casinos. Land-based gambling is only legal in designated zones.