Russia’s Mail.ru Group makes gambling available for the whole world

Mail.ru Group, a major communication portal on the Russian internet, has opened its own online pay-to-play poker app.

Mail.ru Group’s first ever commercial offerings for international consumption – Jungle Heat and Poker Arena, where chips are bought with real money – are now available at Google Play and App Store.

The announcement has been met with a mixed response. The app does not allow users to convert chips already paid for back into real money. If such a function is not added, then the company will be in violation of the Law on the state regulation of gambling activities, according to Sergei Kopylov, head of the legal department at the Coordination Center for TLD RU. Mail.ru has yet to explain exactly why it feels the need to take such a risk.

It should be noted that gambling is illegal throughout Russia, with the exception of four specially designated zones in the country’s Far East.

According to Leonid Delitsyn, an analyst at Finam – one of Russia’s largest investment firms – developing games and applications for mobile devices may be a promising avenue for Mail.ru Group to explore in terms of international expansion.

“We’ve entered the era of the smart phone. There’s a whole new audience that is not tied to any service in particular to be tapped,” Delitsyn explains. It’s difficult to become a global leader in mail or social networking services these days.

Mail.ru Group announced its intentions to enter the global market back in autumn 2012. The My.com brand was created for this specific purpose. In the summer, it became known that the company would be putting its stake on mail and cloud solutions – as reported earlier by RBTH – as well as on games.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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