A blacklisted online casino operator was among Russia’s top-15 video advertisers in January, eclipsing the impressions made by the likes of Coca-Cola and Russian search engine Yandex.
On Friday, audience research firm Mediascope reported the results of a survey to determine the top-20 most-viewed online video advertising sources in January, which ranked the Curacao-licensed Azino777 online gambling brand 14th.
The top-20 list, which was compiled from the video viewing habits of 100k Russian internet users, included some of the biggest corporate names around, including Pepsi Co, Procter & Gamble, Nestle and L’Oreal, but only four internet-based companies: Azino777, Mail.ru, Google and Yandex.
Azino777 pulled off this coup thanks to a minute-long promo (viewable below) featuring rapper Viti AK-47, who extolls the virtues of winning big rubles via the online casino and the resulting attention from scantily-clad females. The video, which was released last September, has racked up over 7.5m views on YouTube.
Russia has implemented a regulated online sports betting market but other online verticals, including casino and poker, remain strictly illegal. Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has to date blacklisted 318 online casino domains affiliated with Azino777 and its numerous mirror sites.
Internet Video Association director Alexei Byrdin told Kommersant that Azino777’s inclusion on the most-watched video list was “monstrous” and he expressed shock at Roskomnadzor’s ineffective blocking tools. Roskomnadzor blocked 62,734 gambling domains last year, and added nearly 6,200 more naughty names just last month, all without much impact.
Byrdin also claimed Russian-facing gambling sites had strong ties to sites offering pirated versions of copyrighted material. The Azino777 video reportedly was a frequent preamble to viewing pirated movies and TV shows, and Byrdin said this connection represented a “unique combination of supply and demand: pirates have a huge audience and a lack of advertisers.”
Anyway, drink in the rich (no pun intended) tapestry that is Viti AK-47’s transformation from tracksuit to power suit, all courtesy of an online casino.