Russian bookmaker Fonbet has gone live with its new licensed online sports betting site.
Fonbet’s new officially approved Russian-facing betting site bkfon.ru is the sixth to have received one of the new online sportsbook licenses since Liga Stavok’s Russian-approved site made its debut in February. Fonbet is a member of the Bookmakers Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), which saw its first member (Leon.ru) launch its official online site in October.
Russia’s new online betting regime requires all online betting operators to channel their payments through centralized hubs known as TSUPIS so that the government can monitor the activity. All Bookmakers SRO member sites plan to use payment processor QIWI’s Russian subsidiary KIWI-Bank to power their TSUPIS.
But QIWI representatives told Betting Business Russia that it’s TSUPIS was still in “test mode” and thus Fonbet’s new site is really only in beta until the payment processing is sorted.
RUSSIA WATCHDOG TO GET NEW POWERS
Typically, the announcement of Fonbet’s new site came the same day that Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor added an impressive 34 Fonbet-linked domains to its ever-growing blacklist of unauthorized gambling sites. Russia’s new licensing regime limits its operators to a single domain and sites offering any product other than sports betting are strictly forbidden.
The battle against mirror sites offering forbidden online fruit may soon get an assist from Russian legislators. In late November, Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma committee on information policy, told the TASS news agency that legislators were likely to authorize Roskomnadzor to “auto-lock” mirror sites based on their digital relation to a previously blocked site.
The move is aimed primarily at sites that pirate copyrighted material, but given Roskomnadzor’s insatiable appetite for blocking gambling operators’ mirror sites – including nearly 1000 domains in a single week last month – it’s hard not to think that the agency wouldn’t be interested in automating this process.