Russia to Block Unsanctioned Online Gambling Payments

Russia is preparing to block payments to online gambling sites taking Russian bets as it prepares to launch its own sports betting market. Online gambling is illegal in the country, but some online sports betting operations are expecting exemptions.

Russia will begin blocking payments to illegal online gambling operations ahead of the launch of its own sports betting market.

The country prohibits online gambling, but some sports betting operators will be exempt when the market is expected to go live this summer

Yury Fedorov, president of Russia’s National Association of Bookmakers, told eGaming Review that the country’s plan is for all approved online bookmakers to conduct payment processing through a self-regulatory organization. This will allow the country to monitor between legitimate online betting payments and those to unsanctioned operators, he said.

The payment processing system is not currently in place, but when activated other online payment channels in Russia would be ordered to “stop the arrangement of payments for all companies that are not in the SROs.”

The first Self-Regulatory Organization of Russian Bookmakers was established in the country late last year. The SRO’s website claims that it has signed up 11 of the 27 companies currently licensed in Russia as bookmakers.

The organization “intends to fight against illegal betting websites by applying international law,” the group said in a press release. “The decisions of foreign courts will force illegal operators to stop their activities in Russia.”

In December, Russia also imposed new fines on anyone caught organizing gambling outside the country’s designated gambling zones. The country also blocked over 50 online gambling sites last year including PokerStars, William Hill and Ladbrokes.