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Gambling websites will be blocked under the new rules

Russia is developing new rules to block gambling websites. In the autumn of 2021, the Federal Tax Service (FTS) presented a document approving the criteria for including websites on the list of banned sites.

The main innovations are the addition of four new criteria which will allow the FTS to block websites. According to the new rules, the blocking will also apply to websites which have:

  • video, photo, audio or text materials with information on money transfers for participation in gambling or lotteries by means of bank cards, electronic wallets, foreign payment systems; 
  • information on betting or receiving winnings through foreign payment systems; 
  • details of mirrors that provide access to foreign payment systems or the possibility to transfer money through them; 
  • the possibility to make a transfer or collect winnings through a foreign payment system. 

The new draft order also contains an important change for bookmakers, lotteries and totalizators which operate legally. The websites of licensed gambling operators in Russia cannot be blocked or listed as banned.

If the draft is approved, new criteria for blocking FTS websites will take effect from March 1, 2022 and will be valid for six years thereafter.

It should be recalled that the Federal Tax Service is empowered to identify banned websites and enter them in Roskomnadzor’s list of prohibited content. Access to the site is then blocked in Russia.

Until October 2021, information on suspicious sites detected was passed to FTS by non-commercial partnership of bookmakers. The FTS then assessed the sites and if the online site met the criteria, the site was blocked. The authority to identify offenders has now been transferred to the Unified Gambling Regulator, which now uses a special “Monitoring System” for this purpose.

Criteria for detecting illegal gambling sites were approved in 2017 by a joint order of the Federal Tax Service, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Rospotrebnadzor. The order presents criteria for different types of information, which each agency is responsible for blocking.

Criteria for detecting gambling law violations and blocking websites

  • availability of video, photo, audio or text materials encouraging participation in gambling; 
  • indication and description of gambling or lottery rules, conditions of participation in gambling, information on methods of betting; 
  • demonstration of gambling games with an explanation of the rules, sequence of player’s actions 
  • a functionality for placing bets; 
  • Options for transferring money to illegal gambling operators and receiving winnings 
  • Lists of mirrors of illegal sites or links to them; 
  • Information about applications or programs that allow access to banned information or services from illegal operators; 
  • Links for downloading apps or programs for gambling entertainment.

 

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