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Russian Government Considers Measures to Tighten Anti-Online Gambling

- May 9, 2016 By Oliver Young -

Russian online bookmakers on the downtrend

PokerStars and Bet365 on the list

Russia is planning to tighten anti online gambling measures and give gambling regulators more powerful tools to fight against illegal online gambling websites that offer their products and services to Russian players without a license from the government.

Despite the fact that the Russian government is somewhat easy with sports betting, it appears to be strongly opposed to online casino gaming. This week it added a few big European casino names on its ever-growing blacklist of banned gambling websites.

In addition, the government also began with the consultative phase for new anti online gambling measures to tighten up existing regulations especially those related to ISP blocking. Namely some sites are using mirror sites to evade the ISP blocking in the country and the government wants more rigorous security measures for this. The phase ends on May 16, 2016.

Government Demands ISPs Also Block Mirrors

The Ministry of Communications in Russia announced several amendments to the federal law on April 26 related addressing the shortfalls identified as a result to the enforced rules to limit online gambling sites.

It looks like some sites have been recommending players from Russia to work around the ISP blocking measures via the use of mirror websites, therefore, the ministry wants to do something about it. They demand ISPs to block these mirror sites as well and search engines to remove references to gambling operators which contravene with the law. It is planned to implement the amendments before the end of this year.

Besides the risk of demising their reputation by being blacklisted by a big government, the new drive against online gambling websites also carries dangers for reliable firms committed to operating in regulated markets. Moreover, in a world where regulatory problems and applications for obtaining a gambling license are linked, certain government legislation could have negative impact for applicants who want to get a license from other jurisdictions.

For instance, in New Jersey it was announced that the activities of operators in black and grey markets would have an impact of whether or not they would get a license. Perhaps it won’t take too long to envisage how online gambling opponents would use the bad behavior of an operator to ask for the use of bad actor clauses in legalization initiatives.

Bet365 and PokerStars Put on Notice

The list of officially unapproved online gambling sites in Russia was updated and on it are several big names from the industry such as Bet365 and three gambling websites liked to Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars. Other familiar international names are BetUS, Sportingbet and Casino Club from GVC Holdings and Kroon Casino from Betsson. Blacklisted domestic operators are 1xbet and Fonbet.

In fact, PokerStars was added to the blacklist in 2014 and since then it has gotten 46 mentions, but half of their domains where added in the past month which means that Russia has taken a closer look at the company. Amaya made in public that it wants to obtain legal rights to operate in this country, however, so far it appears that the country is more interested in online sports betting rather than poker.

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