Gambling was completely illegal during the Soviet Union. But in 1988, the government lifted the ban and established the first gambling legislation. This paved the way for slot machines in Moscow. All types of betting became legal in Russia after the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.
However, in 2006, the Russian government saw the need to control the gambling industry. A decree banning all forms of online betting was issued. It turned out to be a heavy blow on Russian sportsbooks, given that Russian punters were some of the most active customers in the online sports betting scene.
In 2009, another restriction was imposed on offline gambling establishments. Betting could only be operated by betting companies accredited by the government. In addition, sports betting was only permitted in Krasnodar Krai, Primorsky Krai, Altai Krai, and Kaliningrad Oblast. Gambling was further regulated in 2012 by the Supreme Court of Russia. Local internet providers were ordered to shut down online betting platforms designed for Russians.
The Roskomnadzor regulatory body was mandated to track down illegitimate internet betting. All illegal gambling websites were to be listed and blocked so that Russian punters would not access them. Nevertheless, this command was against the legal customs of Russian internet providers; hence they protested heavily. Notwithstanding, the government remained assertive and threatened to nullify the licenses of ISPs that wanted to reject the order.
Betting nowadays in Russia
The four regions mentioned above are the main hub for sports betting in Russia today. The vast majority of Russian sports bettors prefer online sportsbooks, which are available throughout the country. All punters must be 18 years or older to wager on sports.
Gambling legislation that was established in 2020 focused on betting on sports events. It allowed overseas online bookies to operate in Russia, but the bets must be taxed. Furthermore, such bets must be associated with Russian games. But this rule seems to target the bookmakers rather than the players.
As of 2021, any foreign sports betting site that serves Russian residents must pay at least 5% of their gross gaming revenue four times per annum. The proceeds go to sports organizations in Russia. There's one fundamental condition for a licensed offshore sportsbook to operate in Russia: It must be worth $130 million or more on assets.
The Russian Premier League is a major attraction in the sports betting arena. Again, Russia boasts some renowned football clubs in the EU region. Legal bookmakers offer a variety of bet types, odds, and betting lines. The websites are accessible anywhere in the country, regardless of legal restrictions.
The most significant advantage of betting online is that the players don't need to look for a land-based operator. All they have to do is sign up, deposit some money, and place bets at the comfort of their homes. These platforms are mobile-optimized to make on-the-go gambling convenient.