The owner of PokerStars will advertise the brand on a UFC martial arts TV channel in Russia even though he has no licence to operate there.
Russia.- The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars, will launch a campaign on Russian television channel UFC, which broadcasts martial arts tournaments. CEO Rafi Ashkenazi announced the news at a conference call with analysts.
Ashkenazi said that the company plans to file an application with the Russian Federal Tax Service for a bookmaker licence for the PokerStars Sports brand. He believes that these measures will help improve the current situation of the Russian market.
While Russia is a key market for PokerStars, the company does not have a legal licence in the territory to conduct gambling. Back in 2014, the local gambling regulator Roskomnadzor blocked the operator’s website.
A source familiar with UFC Sports Channel confirmed that the Stars Group has marketing ambitions to promote its services related to the UFC channel.
Russia against illegal operators
President Vladimir Putin ordered the Federal Tax Service to place bets with bookmakers, casinos and betting shops to identify illegal operators.
Russia’s president believes that placing bets with those operators, as well as buying lottery tickets is a good strategy to identify illegal gambling and lotteries organisers. The bill signed into law by Putin came into force on August 6.
The strategy established by the government sets that three Federal Tax Service employees must make at least three bets. The employees can keep their wins, but it is expected that they will be paid into the strategy budget.
If the Federal Tax Service finds an illegal operator, it will first block the website and add them to a blacklist of illegal lotteries and operators. The list already features more than 40 offshore companies.