Most Popular Bookies in Russia

With more than 146 million people, Russia has one of the most promising betting markets. A significant number of high-rollers in online sports betting sites are Russian. However, the sports betting industry still faces various challenges as the local authority exerts a tight grip over games of chance.

Gambling regulations are a huge impediment even to international bookmakers who try to provide wagering opportunities on sports. Land-based gambling houses, including casinos, are only allowed in four zones and banned in the rest of the country. Legal bookmakers operate mainly as chains of betting shops throughout the country.

Most Popular Bookies in Russia

Many Russians embrace sports as a pastime activity. Among the most wagered-on sports are basketball, hockey, and handball. This has led to a surge in virtual betting sites targeting Russian players. Russian sports betting sites provide generous welcome offers and allow customers to use local payment options for deposits and withdrawals.

But before placing a real-money bet, a Russian punter must check the odds of specific markets and matches on various sportsbooks. Interested players will find top sportsbooks with the best odds on this web page. By choosing one of the top sites, players will enjoy a wide array of betting options and access incredible promotional offers.

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History of betting in Russia

History of betting in Russia

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.

History of betting in Russia
Future of betting in Russia

Future of betting in Russia

With Vladimir Putin's government now offering permits to Russian sports betting sites, illegal platforms are more likely to be shut down in the future. Even as the government continues to regulate the market with taxes, more and more players will bet on unlicensed operators. The progressive growth of the industry is undeniable.

The future of Russian sports betting is in-game wagering (betting on an event as it happens) and micro-betting (placing bets on a match that's fast approaching and won't last long). There's an endless possibility in these two concepts. They will definitely increase revenue for Russian bookmakers as many residents love to watch sports, not only in Russia but also across the world.

The next big thing in sports betting is live streaming. Today, Russians can watch virtually any sport via live stream. This is a perfect option for sports lovers who don't like to be glued to their televisions. It is even a better chance for sports bettors. Thanks to diverse mobile technologies, the internet is more accessible than ever, and so are live-streamed betting opportunities. Very soon, all Russian sports betting sites may start live-streaming games to let fans watch and place bets simultaneously.

Future of betting in Russia
Betting acts in Russia

Betting acts in Russia

The Federal law number 244-FZ of 2009 prohibited all kinds of online gambling, forcing ISPs to block gambling sites. Almost 63,000 online betting platforms were shut down. But sports betting took a different turn of events when Russia was nominated to host two international sports events (the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup).

The government had to amend the anti-gambling law. The changes led to the introduction of a new service known as Interactive Bets that allowed legal sportsbooks to provide betting services over the internet.

To eliminate the confusion surrounding Interactive Bets and betting legislation, the legislators had to revise the law in 2019. According to the new decree, Interactive Bets is the only exclusion in the online betting laws of Russia. As long as a sportsbook is licensed, it can freely provide sports betting services without further regulatory conditions. Each online bookie must register one domain name associated with the Interactive Bets service.

A new bill passed in 2021 created a new regulator that would be responsible for tracking transactions in the sports betting industry. Internet bookmakers can only use Russian servers for betting transactions. The payments must be approved by TSUPIS (Center for Accounting of Interactive Bet Transactions). However, Russian sports betting sites are not allowed to receive paid bets from an international audience.

The regulation further demands that players must pay 1.5% of their winnings. The fund, in addition to betting taxes, goes to sports federations. International gambling authorities are not happy with this move, and it's not yet clear how bookies should calculate their taxes and contribution.

Betting acts in Russia
Russian players' favorite games

Russian players' favorite games

There's no shortage of matches and tournaments to bet on for Russian players. Sports bettors love wagering on local leagues, including Kontinental Hockey League, VTB United League for basketball, and the Russian Premier Liga. Sports with the majority of the betting odds at online sportsbooks in Russia can be summarized as follows.


The easiest way to bet on football matches is to predict the outcomes of a match. The 2018 World Cup held in Russia influenced football betting to a great extent in Russia. A large volume of football matches allows Russian punters to bet on diverse markets. Many sportsbooks provide competitive football odds and special deals to entice customers.

Ice Hockey

In Russia, ice hockey is referred to as bandy, which originated in 1898 and became a national treasure. Being a strong contender in Ice Hockey, Russia produces a significant number of top-tier talent for NHL. The Russian Hockey league is among the strongest hockey teams across the globe. Almost all Russian bookmakers provide bets on ice hockey. The game is often featured on live streaming channels and sports shows.

The IIHF World Championships is one of the most anticipated tournaments in Russia, but a few national leagues are also popular. For this matter, top bookies in Russia allow customers to bet on these events in addition to other competitions in Canada, the USA, and other countries. Wagering options for Ice hockey include live betting and pre-match betting.


Volleyball is played indoors in a special hall because of winter's harsh weather. The national volleyball team of Russia has recorded a lot of success on the international scene. It continues to provide opportunities for sports bettors in the country.

Russian players' favorite games
Payment methods in Russia

Payment methods in Russia

The Russian gambling market is strictly monitored; hence sports betting providers offer limited payment options.

For instance, direct bank transfers are heavily controlled, and the government may confiscate the money if it involves a gambling site. Similarly, the Western Union is neither recommended for deposits nor withdrawals. So, Russian players are left with a few options listed below.

  • Local options: WebMoney, YooMoney, and QIWI are available for both deposits and withdrawals. WebMoney is highly regulated, so gamblers should only use it when betting on legal sportsbooks. YooMoney, formerly Yandex, is both a contactless and virtual card.
  • Credit and debit cards: The best bookmakers for Russian players allow customers to deposit through the two most prominent payment methods in the world. Visa and MasterCard are perfect for deposits, but Russian players cannot use them to withdraw their winnings.
  • E-wallets: Since PayPal stopped supporting Russian payments in 2020, local gamblers have a few e-wallet options like Skrill, ecoPayz, and Neteller. These can be used to deposit and withdraw without a problem.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Digital currencies are by far the most convenient payment solutions for Russian sports bettors. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin are accepted by most Russian bookies.
Payment methods in Russia
FAQs: Most common questions about betting in Russia

FAQs: Most common questions about betting in Russia

Do Russian Sportsbooks Offer Bets on Non-Russian Sports?

Yes, online bookies allow customers to wager on sports leagues and events from across the board. Russian punters can access the European, American, Asian, and Australian markets and betting lines.

Do Offshore Bookies Have the Option to Switch to the Russian Language?

Yes, many international online bookmakers are designed to cater to a global audience and can be translated in the Russian language, among other alternatives. This covers customer support as well.

Do Russia Sportsbooks Offer eSports?

Yes, the eSports section is common in Russian online bookmakers, with such games as CS: GO, Dota 2, and League of Legends. But the coverage differs significantly in terms of events, odd values, and betting markets. Players should be careful when choosing new eSports-only sites. A good site must have a proven track record.

Do Russian Betting Sites Work on Smartphones?

Yes, today's betting platforms are optimized for mobile gadgets without compromising quality. The desktop version is still a favorite for many bettors, but mobile gambling is more rampant.

How Fast Are Payouts Processed?

The withdrawal speed depends on the payment method. Cryptocurrencies and e-wallets have the quickest transfer timeframes. Withdrawals time can range from a few hours to 24 hours. Credit and debit cards can take up to 3 business days.

FAQs: Most common questions about betting in Russia