Russia is set to get its second licensed online sports betting operator in the next few days.
On Wednesday, Russian gaming news source Championat reported that Stoloto, the country’s largest lottery outfit and its only online lottery operator, would launch a new online sports betting site under an 888.ru moniker and operating via a Betconstruct-provided platform.
Championat reported that the new site had no association with UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings, despite the obvious similarity. On a possibly related note, Russia’s official internet watchdog agency Roskomnadzor has blocked 15 domains associated with the 888 brand so far this month, although these were all casino and poker sites.
Attempts to load the 888.ru site currently produce only a request for a password, although there appears to be a land-based bookmakers office in Moscow operating under that brand.
The new site will reportedly operate under a license issued to 23BET.ru, which was established in 2004 and received a land-based bookmaking license in June 2012. The 23BET.ru site currently displays the same splash page it debuted last October promising to launch actual betting operations as soon it gets the official okay.
Stoloto signaled its intention to venture into online sports betting last November after 23Bet.ru joined the First SRO bookmakers association. Another First SRO member, Liga Stavok, claimed the first official Russian online betting license in February.
Russia has been slowly transitioning towards a regulated online sports betting market, accompanied by the imposition of significant new taxes and the establishment of centralized payment hubs so that the government can track all online gambling transactions. As a First SRO member, Stoloto’s new site will utilize the group’s TSUPIS payment hub.