Sports betting regulation in Russia looks set for an overhaul

Russia sports betting regulations

Sports betting operators in Russia could be subjected to a number of new regulations after the country’s Duma gave the green light to a bill allowing this. 

Bill 647044-7, which was originally introduced at the end of April 2020, gives the Kremlin power to limit which sporting events can and cannot be bet on.  

The legislation will also restructure taxes, meaning that operators would need to pay on a quarterly basis among other things. 

Should Russian President Vladimir Putin approve the bill, it’s likely that it will come into force this autumn. 

Operators will have more of a financial burden 

The bill will enable the Kremlin to “increase the financial obligations of Russian sports betting licences”. 

Sportsbooks in Russia will have to pay tax on a quarterly basis, which shall be 5% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR). This will be necessary for international and domestic events, having previously only applied to the latter of these. 

Regulated operators will also need to maintain a minimum liability of 500 million Rubles in bank guarantees, which is roughly €6 million. There must also be RUB 1 million (€12 million in net assets). 

14 sportsbooks had been exempt from the liability clause beforehand. This was because they obtained their licences in 2010, which was prior to the adoption of financial requirements. 

At the moment, 20 sports betting operators hold a licence for the Russian market. The government’s SRO system monitors and records all transactions made with each of them. 

Other restrictions 

Another area of the legislation enables the government to introduce their own “limits on types of sports events that can be wagered on”. 

Sports betting operators in Russia will only be allowed to accept bets on sporting events that have been sanctioned by official domestic and foreign governing bodies. 

The CIS office of Dentons, an international law firm, has issued the below guidance note as it observes sports betting landscape in Russia. 

“This bill will enter into force 60 days after its official publication, which will happen after the President assents to the bill and other technicalities are completed. 

“In terms of timelines, we are looking at the new requirements taking effect in mid-autumn 2020.”