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Bookmakers and totalisators in Russia to play by new rules

A new Russian Federal Law (No. 270-FZ) regulating the way gambling events are organized and held will come into force on 30 September 2020.

What new requirements will bookmakers and totalisators have to fulfil?

In September 2020, new norms regulating the work of bookmakers and totalisators in Russia will come into force.

  1. The law limits the range of events which bets can be taken on. Totalisators are able to take bets exclusively on racing events, while bookmakers are able to work only with sporting events. The range of events is limited to official sports competitions, competitions of national sports federations and leagues, international sports competitions, and foreign competitions which have been included in the unified calendar for each particular type of sport. The law forbids to take bets on events organized by private companies and events which aren’t listed in the unified calendar of sporting events. According to experts, these two types of competitions used to constitute the largest part of income generated by betting companies.
  2. Betting companies and totalisators have to obtain monolicences for each type of their activities. Currently, a company is able to operate as both a bookmaker and a totalisator under a single licence. As soon as the law comes into force, the company will have to opt for only one type of the activity and obtain a licence to operate in Russia.
  3. Companies will have to make payments to the budget for all sporting events. If a company evades payments or doesn’t pay in full, its licence will be revoked at the discretion of the court. The process will be initiated by the Federal Tax Service of Russia. Earlier, bookmakers had to make payments for national sporting events alone; in case of non-payment, only a fine was imposed.
  4. New requirements for bank guarantees: the law limits the list of banks which can issue such guarantees. Companies with a guarantee issued by a non-certified bank will have to renew their documents.

Experts consider the new restrictions to be quite strict for companies operating legally and favorable for grey market participants. New mandatory payments and restrictions imposed on events will make Russian legal betting companies unable to compete with illegal businesses which will continue offering the widest possible range of services. In general, the law will negatively affect the betting sector and betting-related incomes.

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