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Ukraine Adds Poker to Gambling Ban

4. January 2010 by Daniel 0 Comments

The Ukrainian Justice Ministry announced last week that they will no longer treat the game of poker as a sport. The decision was made in order to strengthen a ban on most forms of gambling in the country, which was instituted last summer.


Protests erupted in both Russia and Ukraine last summer after both countries issued bans on most forms of gambling, with employees of the gaming industry arguing that thousands of jobs would be lost.


Proponents of the ban made moral arguments against gaming. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said that gaming salons were “demoralizing Ukraine’s youth,” and added that only a fraction of the state budget comes from gaming revenues. Support for the ban culminated with a fire at a gambling hall that resulted in the deaths of nine people.


Since the ban came into effect, poker tournaments have flourished in Ukraine as the popular card game was still recognized as an official sport. However, now even poker players will have to find some other way of getting around the gambling ban.


Exceptions to the ban include lotteries, art contests, billiards and other games that do not incorporate elements of chance.