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Russia Makes Changes to Online Gambling Regulatory Regime and Approves Establishment of Crimea Gaming Zone

Recent changes that Russia has made in its laws have signaled the emerging legal and regulatory framework for online gambling in the country.

All forms of online and any other virtual and off-site gambling operations have been suspended in Russia since 2006. No exceptions from this regime have been made until a new concept for the so-called “Interactive Bet” was introduced in regard to local totalizators and bookmakers in 2014. In the beginning, a quite vague description of the aforementioned interactive bet has been provided, which left the issue poorly understood. In the years to follow, the practice has shown that the interactive bet actually involves the mechanism of online gambling.

The emerging online gambling legal framework has some weaknesses. First and foremost, the proposal did not explicitly say that so-called interactive bets would be unveiled as an exception to the online gambling ban. According to analysts, the lack of clarity could leave space for interpretation.

Several months ago, in July, an amendment was passed in the Russian Gambling Law to specifically state that the interactive bet is actually an exception to the online gambling ban in the country. The new changes have eliminated any doubt that the interactive bet has a solid legal ground for some Internet betting operations to evade the prohibition under law. In the future, it could also serve as a trampoline for online gambling to be officially passed in Russia, too.

Under the amendments which were brought to the country’s gambling legislation in July, it also became clear that the interactive bet is for the time being the only exception of the online gambling ban.

More Relaxed Regime for Online Customer Identification Unveiled

Under recent changes in the Russian gambling legislation, some alterations to the rules for identifying customers were also brought. Russian law requires any totalizator or bookmaker to gather information and documentation to identify their customers.

The recent changes to the legal framework that is applicable to gambling have made the identification requirements of online customers more relaxed and also served in favor of the operative development of the country’s interactive bet system.

Two levels of identification are provided in Russian law in the context of gambling – a simplified system and a standard thorough identification system. Under the recent changes in the country’s gambling legislation, it is the simplified system which is set to be used for most of the online gambling customers who use so-called interactive bets. The standard “full” identification, on the other hand, is set to be used for gamblers who want to place their bets at a physical location, such as a totalizator or a bookmaker’s betting shop.

Russia Prime Minister Signs Legislation to Establish New Crimea Gaming Zone

Apart from the recent changes in the situation for interactive bets and online gambling, Russia brought some changes in its legal regime for retail gambling, too. Only a few days ago, the country finally gave the green light to a new casino zone for the annexed Crimean territory. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, signed legislation under which the establishment of a new “Golden Coast” gaming zone in Crimea has been formally approved. As the Russian Government has explained, the new gambling zone is expected to see the first casino opened there by 2022.

There have been some plans for the establishment of a Crimean gaming zone for more than half a decade. Now, the current administrator of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, has shared that a large casino operator is expected to confirm its proposal for a casino in the new gaming zone.

According to analysts, the financial sanctions which were imposed on the country after the 2014 Crimea invasion and the ban on Crimea-based investments which the European Union recently extended for one more year tighten the circle around the possible gambling operators that might establish a casino in the new gaming zone. Rumour has it that the only gambling companies that are likely to come up with a proposal for a Crimean casino will be either Russian or from a nation which has been keeping its friendly political relations with Russia, such as Cambodia or China. The Cambodian gambling operator NagaCorp is currently making preparations to launch its Naga Vladivostok casino project in the east Primorye gaming zone next year.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.