Last week, BetVictor’s Russian customers reported receiving emails from the company informing them that their long association was coming to an end. Customers have been instructed to cash out the funds in their accounts, which are to be closed without any indication that they will be reopened anytime soon.
News of BetVictor’s imminent exit came the same week that Russian legislators confirmed plans to make life more difficult for internationally licensed online operators serving Russian customers. The plans involve creating a blacklist of unauthorized operators for whom Russian banks and payment processors will be forbidden to process online gambling payments.
The payments ban is but one of a number of legislative efforts intended to dramatically revamp Russia’s online gambling landscape, which involves allowing Russian bookmakers to offer online sports betting while maintaining the prohibition on online poker and casino products.
On Wednesday, Russia’s state legislature the Duma will hold the second reading of Bill 1113576-6, which among other things, aims to boost funding for youth and professional sports entities by requiring bookies to pay 5% of revenue to Russian sports federations.
Last November, the Ministry of Finance indicated it was considering lowering this sports contribution to 3% but this appears to have fallen by the wayside. The minimum quarterly payment that each bookmaker must contribute to sport remains set at RUB 15m (US $258k).
On the plus side, the bill will also permit Russian-licensed bookmakers to advertise during live sports broadcasts, provided the volume of betting ads doesn’t exceed 20% of the total advertising time. Bookmakers will also be permitted to advertise via print and online media, as well as sponsor individual teams and sporting venues.