Russia’s gambling tax haul climbed for the fifth straight year in 2015 but is still only a sliver of the total collected before casinos were restricted to designated gaming zones.
According to stats compiled by Betting Business Russia, the state’s total tax raised from gambling sources came to RUB 623m (US $9.7m) last year, 17.5% higher than the previous year and 35% higher than the state earned in 2013.
However, while the numbers have nearly doubled since 2010, they pale in comparison to the RUB 33.4b (US $519m) the state earned in 2008, the year before Russia banned all casino activity to four remote and inhospitable regions of the country.
Nearly half (49%) of last year’s tax gains came via licensed bookmakers. There were 4,664 licensed betting offices in action last year, more than one-third of which were located in the Central Federal District that includes Russia’s capital Moscow.
Casinos contributed 42.7% of 2015’s tax take. The 2015 numbers relied primarily on contributions from the casinos in the Azov-City and Altai gaming zones, as the new Tigre de Cristal casino on Russia’s far eastern shore didn’t officially open until November.
There were a total of 149 gaming tables available to Russian gamblers last year, which collectively anted up RUB 133.6m in tax. There were 1,910 slots in the three active gaming zones that brought in RUB 132.6m.
Russia’s casino taxes are among the lowest in the world. Casinos are charged per gaming position – RUB 125k ($1,945) per table and RUB 7.5k ($117) per gaming machine, payable monthly – rather than on the revenue each position might earn.
All other licensed gaming operations contributed just under RUB 53m, of which RUB 32m came via fees on bookmaker’s digital processing centers. Russia’s new online licensing regime has proposed exponential increases in these fees, as well as the introduction of a new 10% tax on online revenue, meaning this category will likely be the standout performer this time next year.