Russian online sports betting operator Fonbet has registered a domain of online poker, with the hope that Russia will finally lift its long term ban.
The Russian Bookmaker-Ratings sports betting company announced Sunday that in December Fonbet registered two new domains–ruspoker.ru and fontoto.ru. No domain seems active yet, and at least in the case of the former domain, there is a good reason for that.
Russia’s 19 licensees are currently prevented from offering any other kind of online gaming under the rules of game play approved by Russian legislators in 2009–slots, casino table games and poker. These rules limited offline casino gambling to several remote regional districts and limited online gambling to race and sports.
The few Russian licensed casinos are permitted at their venues to offer live tournaments. Several western operators, including the brand PartyPoker of GVC Holdings and The Stars Group online PokerStars flagship, held live poker events at sochian casinos in the Krasnaya Polyana designated gaming area.
The real-money Dot-com site of Pokerstars has relied on a large number of players in Russia for some considerable time, although the company has struggled late to disrupt the online payment processing of Russian game players without their local permission by Russian authorities. The Stars group has predicted for years now that Russia has decided to cut the ban on poker online, but this mirage of poker never seems closer to the horizon.
What info fonbet could have on the future of online poker in Russia is unclear if any, or if the company simply wants to squat the domain as a contingency game. Like many Russian operators, Fonbet has a global offshoot that offers players abroad, but currently doesn’t offer a poker product.
Fonbet, as evidenced by online traffic statistics in November 2019, is Russia’s dominant online bookmaker. In November, Fonbet.ru recorded 9.89 m visits, over twice that of the 3,96 m visits of leading Liga Stavok, according to SimilarWeb data.