Online casino Azino777 has gained popularity in Russia in 2017. RBC magazine studied the work and methods of promoting Azino777, and estimated the approximate income of the project and tried to find out who are its owners.
Fight against online casinos in Russia
Online casinos in Russia are prohibited. Illegal operators risk facing a fine of up to 1 million rubles and imprisonment for up to six years. Penalty for advertising online gambling is up to 500 thousand rubles. In 2017, the Federal Tax Service has ordered to block more than 42 thousand of domains of online casinos and bookmakers, from the beginning of 2018 – 13.5 thousand. Azino-related sites accounted for more than 30 blockings in 2017 and 250 in 2018. Roskomnadzor in 2017 blocked more than 50 sites related to Azino, since early 2018 – about 350 more. Most of the blocked addresses are “mirror websites”. According to SoftSwiss, which develops software for online gambling, the size of the Russian online casino market can reach € 1 billion.
Who is involved in the Azino Group
According to RBC, Azino Group is affiliated with GGS Net Ltd, which is registered in Cyprus. To attract players to all casinos, GGS Net Ltd uses the affiliate program Lucky Partners, which is similar to Azino Money.
The Lucky Partners program is developed by the same-name company associated with the Ukrainian IT company Lucky Labs, which was founded by Russians Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov. According to the latter, the company has several other founders, but they refused to name their names and sizes of shares.
Among other things, Lucky Labs develops software for gambling, but does not deal with gambling and does not operate the casino. In April 2018, the press service of the National Police of Ukraine reported that the Department of Cyber Police discovered eight online casinos created by Russian citizens on the territory of Ukraine. Among them there were participants of Lucky Partners: “Pharaoh”, “Eldorado”, “Vulcan” and Green Casino.
How Azino777 transfers money in conditions of prohibition
Despite the website blockings, Azino777 works through the network of “mirrors”. The casino uses Russian Yandex.Money payment service for money transfers.
Since May 26, the ban on money transfers to illegal gambling companies entered into force. Banks and payment services can block the transfer according to a four-digit MCC-code, which indicates the specialization of the company. Codes are assigned based on data provided by companies that make the transfer. The code for gambling is 7995, the transfer from Azino to the correspondent of RBC came with code 6012 (sale of certificates and consulting services, loans issue). The press service of “Yandex.Money” referred to the fact that there is still no list of gambling related organizations for which transfers are prohibited.
How much does Azino spend on promotion and how much does it earn?
Thanks to the video advertisement with a famous local rapper, Azino777 was ranked on the 14th place in the list of 20 largest advertisers by the number of video advertising views. The ranking was made by the research company Mediascope. By the number of views Azino has bypassed such advertisers as “Yandex”, Coca-Cola and Tele2. According to Mediascope, on average in 2017 Azino advertising was seen by 3.09 million people per month.
The casino uses the Azino Money affiliate program for promotion. It is a separate web platform for site owners who are ready to advertise Azino. Here they can choose banners and videos for posting on their sites.
To motivate partners, Azino Money publishes top 10 advertising websites per revenue per month: each website earns from 7.3 million to 16 million rubles from casino advertising. Basically, these are large pirate online cinemas with traffic of about 35 million users a month.
Partners get 30% of the bets made by the reffered players. According to RBC, the monthly volume of bets that come through the partnership program is at least 600 million rubles. The total volume of bets is higher by at least 30-40%. According to RBC, online gambling experts estimate the total volume of Azino’s bets at 6 – 15 billion rubles a year.