As sports betting is the only iGaming activity authorised in Russia and strict regulations scare off operators, online gambling has yet to bloom.
The online gambling segment is surely the top division in all of the gaming industry and will continue to be in the future. However, Russia has yet to develop a more appealing regulation to get companies to invest in the country and exploit the sports betting market, which is the only activity allowed by the local legislation.
Not only does Russia forbid betting besides sports wagering and, so far, has blocked over 76k domains in 2018 (269% more than all of 2017), but also has regulations which are unappealing to bookmakers. The country requires companies to complete a multi-stage process (TSUPIS) to sign up with one of the country’s official online betting payment channels, which is a major discouragement for operators, even as the government announced it will streamline the process at some point in the future.
Anton Rozhkovsky, chairman of the Mobilnaya karta (Mobile Card) processor that handles payments for the 10 operators who belong to the First Self-Regulatory Organization (First SRO) of Russian Bookmakers, told the Russian media that the First SRO’s TSUPIS registered over 1.5 million players but only about a million completed the whole process, proving it to be discouraging.
15 online sports betting licences have been issued to Russian firms and, according to July website traffic reports, Fonbet leads them all with 10.1 million visits, followed by 1xBet (8.3 million) and Liga Stavok (4.9 million).