egulated Payment Processing System
In December, a self-regulatory organization (SRO) was formed in Russia, with one of its goals aimed at combating illegal gambling. To achieve this goal, gambling operators are required to sign up with the SRO, and another its functions will include a payment processing system. President of Russia's National Association of Bookmakers, Yuri Fedorov, explained how the system is set to work.
Transactions of players' funds will have to be channeled through the system in order for the SRO and Russian authorities to monitor transactions and see who's licensed and who operates without a permit: the transactions will go through an online SRO portal. Fedorov said that once the system will be in place, the Russian government will ask all payment systems in Russia to halt the arrangement of payments with companies that were not signed up with the SRO.
Russian iGaming State of Affairs
This step joins Russia's general crackdown on illegal gambling. An amendment in Russia's Criminal Code which was signed by President Vladimir Putin in December has given the state more power and tools in order to fight illegal gambling. This includes punishments such as heavy fines, community service hours, jail time and other means of freedom restriction. The Russian Federation has six areas specifically defined as gambling zones; Bill 478806-6 which was signed by Putin in December effectively criminalized online gambling that takes place out of these zones.
Russian iGaming also took a hard hit when the Russian ruble crashed back in December. This financial reality caused the departure of major operator Ladbrokes from Russia earlier in January.