According to a recent report by the Japan Times, Russian online betting enthusiasts seem to enjoy a clear preference for non licensed bookmakers. Although one may argue that picking unlicensed betting sites can harm the correct regulation of iGaming, bureaucracy and extensive KYC checks are deterring Russian punters from signing up on Roskomnadzor licensed bookies.
Important events such as the FIFA World Cup 2018 are coming up and Russian punters are expected to lean even more towards illegal online gambling. The aforementions Japan Times report highlighted the constant struggle of Russian authorities to regulate this area of illegal activity and lost revenue for the government.
Anton Rozhkovsky, executive of Tsupis, called attention to the numbers describing the situation. As things stand, the online betting industry in Russia amounts to more than 2 billion dollars annualy, with 70% of that going to unlicensed bookies, which makes for alarming losses in state revenue.
Russian punters demonstrate a big preference towards online gambling in general, mainly due to the government’s relentless efforts to control the industry through strict laws, especially following the dissolution of the previous regime. Interestingly enough, 65% of the industry's $110.8 billion annual turnover (according to a 2017 study) are being awarded to non-regulated operators.
Leon, a legal Russian online bookmaker, acknowledged the delay of notable progress in the control of the industry mostly due to time-consuming processes such as ID identification.
Anzor Kavazashvili, a major advocate of anti-match fixing pointed out how many bookmakers are often involved in match fixing activities, including spreading rumors about match fixing in matches that are clean, to get them cancelled and avoid huge pay outs. Specifically for the Russian Premier League however, the situation seems to have changed for the better, with such incidents having been significantly reduced.
A few words on Russia's gambling legislation
Legal online bookmakers in Russia are forced to take all payments through controlled channels called Tsupis, as a way to secure the process from illegal offshore operators. The Russian government is in collaboration with local internet providers following an extended crack down on foreign online bookmakers by blocking IPs to prevent dealings with Russian punters. All providers that fail to follow the state’s guidelines are heavily fined.