Russia’s online sports betting operators are celebrating after the country’s lower legislative body approved a bill to simplify their customer registration process.
This week, Russia’s State Duma approved the third and final reading of federal law 423799-7, which will dramatically simply the customer registration process for Russian-licensed online sports betting sites. To take effect, the bill now requires the approval of the Federation Council (upper legislative chamber) and then Vladimir Putin’s signature, both of which are expected later this summer.
The bill’s explanatory language specifically states that the “complex duplicate identification procedures” currently required to register with a Russian online bookmaker “encourages players to search for ways to overcome government measures … in order to gain access to foreign sites subjected to blocking by [Russian telecom watchdog] Roskomnadzor.”
Currently, a Russian bettor must register with the bookmaker of his choice and then supply the identical information to the centralized online payment hub (known as TSUPIS) affiliated with that bookmaker. After that, the customer must present their identity documents in person at a betting shop, or, in the case of an online-only bookie, at a retail payment partner location.
The new legislation would allow bookmakers to delegate responsibility for customer identification to the TSUPIS, which will have three business days in which to transfer the info to the bookie. However, bookmakers may opt to conduct some due diligence on any new customer, just to be on the safe side.
If a bettor has already registered with Russia’s public services portal (Gosuslugi.ru), both the bookmaker and the TSUPIS can accept this information as proof of the customer’s identity, so the customer need not make a physical trip anywhere. There were 86m Russians registered with Gosuslugi at the end of 2018 (out of a total population of around 147m).
There are some downsides to the simplified registration process, including a cap of RUB60k (US$952) per individual transaction, and a monthly cap of RUB200k for all transactions (deposits and withdrawals combined). However, this monthly cap can be overridden if the player is willing to go visit a TSUPIS partner’s retail location to have his documentation verified.
Nikolai Oganezov, who represents local operator Betcity and also the First Self-Regulatory Organization of Russian Bookmakers, told Bookmaker Ratings that the new simplified registration could boost the overall domestic online betting customer base by 5% this year, with growth of up to 15% possible by the end of 2020.