Legalization of online betting and “betting import substitution”

    Since 2009, only gambling houses and sweepstakes are allowed from gambling establishments in Russia. The volume of the offline segment is estimated at one billion dollars. The country has about 5.5 thousand points for receiving bets. The online gambling segment has not yet been provided for by Russian laws. However, its turnover is comparable to the offline segment. However, in the near future, Russian legislation in this area will be finalized.

    In 2006, the Russian president banned most types of gambling, with rare exceptions. Since June 30, 2009, the activities of bookmakers have been on a special account. A bet made by a client with a bookmaker is based not only on luck, but also on analytical forecasts, on the client’s knowledge and his level of intelligence.

    However, since 2009, the requirements for bookmakers have been tightened. They had to go through re-licensing. Thus, the volume of the core market declined from $ 1.7-1.9 billion (2008) to $ 400 million (2010). Since 2010, financial requirements have been tightened even further: the amount required to start a business has grown from 100 thousand to 1.6 billion rubles (1 billion - net assets of the company, 500 million - mandatory bank guarantee, 100 million - registered capital).

    Since July 2014, a law has entered into force requiring bookmakers to be required to join self-regulatory organizations ( SROs ). President of SRO bookmakers Konstantin Makarov believes that after this the bookmaker market has become more streamlined, a dialogue is being established with the state and public organizations.

    However, the issue of legalizing rates via the Internet remains unresolved. The concept of an interactive bet was legislatively introduced, and now bookmakers are waiting for the government to complete the legalization process. In December last year, responsibility for the illegal conduct of online gambling was tightened. The maximum penalty for illegal gambling is now imprisonment for six years.

    In 2014, the total winnings of bookmakers from bets accepted offline, almost reached a billion dollars. However, the forecast for 2015 is disappointing - only $ 0.6 billion.

    The situation is different in the Russian online gambling segment. The fact is that foreign companies from offshore jurisdictions operate under brands of the same name with Russian ones. Thus, foreign betting companies accept bets from Russian players, now taking away almost half of the Russian online market, the president of First Gaming Leonid Obozny told Kommersant . He estimates the volume of the online bookmaker market in Russia at $ 0.6- $ 0.9 billion. While foreign players do not seek to enter the Russian market in a legal way. “Perhaps they will be ready to begin to develop the market when more clear rules of the game are established. In particular, if the issue of online betting is positively resolved , ”says Konstantin Makarov.

    “But it cannot be ruled out that some of the public companies, such as, for example, William Hill or Betfair , may consider that legal entry into the Russian market would be the right decision to increase market capitalization. The Russian market is now one of the largest, and its growth potential is far from exhausted, ”adds Leonid Obozny.

    “It should be borne in mind that a foreign bookmaker will be able to operate not only“ on the ground ”, but also online, it is possible that he will be able to choose exclusively online. And in our tax legislation the tax grid for such a development of events has not yet been developed. Then the foreign bookmaker will get a significant advantage over the domestic one, ”said the Vice PresidentRussian Association of Bookmakers Nikolay Oganezov.

    Unresolved is also the issue of advertising legislation for bookmakers. The existing restrictions in this area and the actual complete ban on advertising of bookmakers on the Internet no longer meet the realities of today, Mr. Obozny is sure. Instead, one could simply impose restrictions on gambling advertisements on radio and television, but not completely ban it.

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