With the FIFA World Cup kicking off in Russia today, online bookmakers are expecting a 50% surge in betting. Local online betting companies are still concerned with international competition and are hoping that the government steps in to curb foreign involvement in the industry.
Restrictions imposed on May 26, 2018, barred local financial institutions from processing local punter payments to international gambling sites. These restriction work in favor of Russian online gambling companies as it allows them greater business.
In keeping with the restriction, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s official telecom watchdog has already blocked over 11,640 online gambling sites so far. The blocking of sites is expected to continue well into the world cup month.
Yuri Krasovsky, president of the First Self-Regulatory Organization of Russian Bookmakers (First SRO), and who runs Liga Stavok, however, feels that there is more that the government can do. According to Krasovsky, the government’s and Roskomnadzor’s efforts are not enough to completely remove foreign competition.
Krasovsky says that the lengthy online sign-in process and the rules which require bookmakers to withhold a cut of the winnings for tax purposes hamper the workings of the industry. Only when changes are made in these areas will it be a lot easier for Russian online bookmakers to take advantage of the new restrictions.
A twofold approach which puts restrictions on foreign domains and relaxes rules for local domains will have a greater positive impact. The sooner the government goes about making these changes the better it will be for Russian online bookmakers.
In an attempt to regulate the local online betting market the Russian FTS (Federal Tax Service) plans to publish identities of individuals and companies who violate gambling laws. The identities will be published on the official government portal within three days of a conviction. The move to publicly shame violators of local gambling laws hopes to drastically reduce the number of offenders.
Online bookmakers in Russia have already been enjoying an increase in business since May this year and things will only get better closer to the FIFA World Cup. With the government’s new restrictions in place, foreign competitors will prove less competition for local domains. The FTS move to publicize local gambling law violators will also help control the market leaving the field wide open for licensed Russian bookmakers to make the most of the FIFA World Cup betting frenzy.
Source – Igaming world