Marathon launch Russian-licensed sports betting site


marathon-russian-online-sports-betting-site-launchOnline gambling operator Marathon has launched its Russian-licensed sports betting site but potential customers must be willing to travel in order to register.

This week brought the official launch of, bringing the number of government-approved online sports betting sites to 12. The Marathon brand is well known in Russia and the company has had a local license for some time but is only now getting its online feet officially wet.

As recently as last August, Marathon was expressing reservations about launching a locally licensed online site, in part due to the government’s frenetic approach to gambling regulation, in particular issues dealing with taxation and required payments to sports federations.

All Russian-licensed online bookmakers must process customer payments through centralized hubs known as TSUPIS. Marathon is a member of the Bookmakers Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), which has a deal with JSC KIWI Bank, a subsidiary of the QIWI Group, to run its TSUPIS.

Russia also requires would-be online betting customers to complete their TSUPIS registration by presenting proof of identity at a retail outlet, and Marathon currently only has land-based operations in two cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. Meaning anyone who wants to wager with but doesn’t live in either of those cities will have to book some time off work, pack a lunch and hop on a train.

According to a recent market report by Russian affiliate Bookmaker Ratings, Russia’s total online and retail sports betting turnover over the past 12 months was estimated to be around RUB 677b (US $11.4b). Of this, locally licensed operators accounted for around RUB 403b, from which local operators derived revenue of around RUB 47b ($793m).

An estimated RUB 422b of the total turnover figure was wagered online, and roughly RUB 148b of this was handled by Russian-licensed sites. The Russian punter’s average bet was around RUB 1000 ($17).

Of the betting sites currently authorized to operate in Russia, a Betting Business Russia analysis of Similar Web data showed (1Xbet) the clear traffic winner, notching 2.32m hits in the month of June, well ahead of runnerup at 1.87m and third-place finisher at 1.41m. From there the numbers drop off significantly, as fourth-ranked site scored only 573k.

As for .com bookies serving Russian punters without local approval, was the clear favorite at over 5.7 m hits, more than twice the 2.2m generated by runner-up The rest of the top-five included (1.56m), (1.45m) and 627k).