A month after it was placed on the country's Internet blacklist, Malta-based Nordic OMX listed public company Unibet Group plc has decided to withdraw from Russia and will be stopping to accept new players from the country on both Unibet.com and Maria.com.
The decision was announced on Thursday with communication sent to Unibet’s partners. The room also specified that although all of its platforms will not be accepting Russia’s players from here on out, the decision will not have any consequence for Russian citizens who already have an active account with either Unibet or Maria.
"Unibet has taken the decision to temporarily close registrations from Russia. This means that it will no longer be possible for customers from Russia to sign up on Unibet.com or Maria.com," the room stated. "This change will take place immediately, but will not affect existing customers. It will also still be possible for customers to sign up from all other Russian-speaking countries and those markets should not be affected at all."
As a result of this process, "Russia will no longer be listed as an option for country of residence on the registration form of Unibet.com or Maria.com."
Unibet withdrawal from Russia’s poker market comes a week after France’s Betclic-Everest group announced a similar measure, with Betclic, EverestPoker and Bet-at-home ending their operations in Russia.
Russia’s poker market has been in turmoil since March 21, 2014, when local authorities included sites such as PokerStars, TitanPoker and the very same Unibet in the country’s Internet’s blacklist, forcing national Internet service providers to de facto inhibit access to a large number of gambling operators’ websites.
This, however, caused mixed feelings within the poker community, as none of the measures implemented by Russia’s authorities actually affected the correct functioning of any poker client nor prevented Russia’s online players to sit at the poker tables as usual.
At the moment, it is still unclear what Russia plans to do with online poker and — while the Russian government is currently evaluating the possibility of turning the newly annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea into a gambling zone — rumors about an upcoming regulation has not been confirmed.
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