Illegal gaming worries Russia

As the government is focused on one of the biggest sports events of the year, illegal operators grow.

Russia.- Gaming authorities in Russia are worried about the growth of illegal transactions among residents related to unlicensed gaming operations, especially on sports betting platforms. Russia will host one of the biggest sports events of the year – the 2018 FIFA World Cup – next June and the government is trying to ban all kinds of gaming offerings.

Unlicensed gaming operations in Russia are allegedly being offered by offshore companies. According to governmental reports, financial experts have estimated that transactions with illegal offshore gambling websites represent at least US$1 billion. Meanwhile, Russian bookmakers with approved licenses are demanding further regulation as they pay high taxes to offer legal services.

Alena Sheyanova, a spokesperson for Leon, a Russian bookmaker, said: “Bettors going the legal route are required to pay tax and submit identity papers in person if they wish to register with a bookie.” Russian players use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to participate in gaming activities in offshore sites. “Because of these technicalities, our business is not developing as quickly as it could,” she added.

“The total turnover volume of the legal and offshore online bookmaking market is more than US$2 billion a year,” said Anton Rozhkovsky, the director of the TSUPIS online betting payment system. “Around 70 percent of that is illegal, offshore business.”

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illegal gaming legislation Russia sports betting