Russia gets third online betting site, plays whack-a-mole with unauthorized sites

russia-winline-online-gambling-whack-a-moleRussia witnessed the launch of its third officially approved online sports betting site this week.

Winline, which operates 11 retail betting shops in major Russian cities, launched its site this week. The site follows Liga Stavok and, which launched in February and June, respectively, as the first authorized sites under Russia’s new sports betting regime.

Like those other two sites, processes its payments via the TSUPIS centralized hub, which requires a three-stage registration process. To open a Winline account, punters have to first sign up with the betting site, then register online with TSUPIS, then physically present their passports at a Euroset mobile phone retail outlet, after which they’ll be allowed to make their first deposit – by check.

While Russian bettors get more legal options, the country’s media watchdog continues to banish unauthorized sites to the internet gulag. According to statistics published on the Roskomnadzor agency’s site, it blocked 118 online gambling domains (including many mirror sites) between June 21-28.

Roskomnadzor encourages patriotic citizens to sound the alarm when they see objectionable online content. In the first three months of 2016, Roskomnadzor received 4,726 complaints regarding gambling sites – 70% higher than the same period last year. Gambling ranked third on the naughty list, behind only drug trafficking (19,737) and child pornography (5,534).

Roskomnadzor was given a license to kill objectionable sites last year and the government is currently mulling new laws that would require internet service providers and search engines to up their objectionable content blocking game.

Roskomnadzor appears to be growing more confident in its ability to pull the plug on sites regarding of their stature. Earlier this month, it shut down the Amazon Cloud service over an offending 888poker advert. The service has since been allowed to restart after expunging the ad in question and promising to be more vigilant in the future.