ccording to Mutko’s report, poker was included on the list by mistake in 2007. “The decision to include poker on the official list of sports should be taken by special Ministry commission, but not by the chief of Russian State physical training and sport committee,” Mutko added.
However, many Russian poker players link the decision to exclude poker from the sports list to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s war against gambling. All casinos and slot-machine halls were shut down across Russia as a new law took effect, which has imposed sweeping new restrictions on the gaming industry since July 1.
Since July 1 casinos have only been able to operate in four remote regions of Russia, each of them at least 1,000 kilometres from Moscow and some much further. A third of a million are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the law, which was signed in 2006 by then-president Vladimir Putin in a bid to contain gambling addiction.
The gambling law is expected to have the biggest impact on Moscow, which had 524 casinos and gaming halls until the law took effect, and the northern city of Saint Petersburg, which had 109.