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Best Online Casinos in Russia for 2020

Russia

As a country, Russia has had an on/off relationship with gambling throughout the course of its history, with regulations dictated by the various political regimes of the time. Despite having a thriving gaming industry less than two decades ago, most forms of gambling – both online and offline – are now banned in the country, with the exception of four designated government zones.

Online gambling regulations are clearer in Russia than in many other countries, with online casino play being illegal in all but the four designated areas. However, casino operators based outside of Russia still operate freely in the country and gambling online remains a popular pastime amongst Russians.

All forms of betting were outlawed in Russia in 1928, before political reform led to a near 20-year golden period between 1988 and 2006, but  prohibition is back in Russia under the current regime of Vladimir Putin, although this may be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Before the law changes, online gambling in Russia was enjoyed by millions, and the country continues to be ranked in the top five nations in the world for poker play.

Our Top-Rated Online Casinos in Russian Federation for 2020

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How to Find the Best Russia Online Casinos in 2020

Russian gambling laws are going through turmoil at the moment. While it's still possible to transfer real cash to many licensed overseas gambling sites, Russia online casino players often have to hunt around.

Luckily, we’re here to do the hard work for you, and we have a list of the best online casinos offering their services to Russian players. You just have to pick your favourite from our list and you’re ready to go.

 All of the Russia online casinos from our curated list above rank highly in terms of quality and professionalism. Once you sign up to a site, you’re guaranteed access to great bonuses and friendly customer support.

In terms of games, you’ll be able to find something to suit your tastes, as each Russian casino site boasts hundreds of titles. You can play slots, video poker games, and classics like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat from the world’s leading software providers.  

When it comes to your safety, our premium online Russia casinos ensure your personal details are always protected with advanced SSL encryption. All casino games are also audited for fair play and randomness by independent testing companies like eCOGRA.


Best Deposit Methods for Russians Online

In recent years, some gambling payment methods have been blocked at Russian casino sites. It's still possible to deposit and withdraw using other methods, however.

For playing at the best real money online casinos  in Russia, it's good to find a method that allows deposits in roubles (unless you are using cryptocurrency). Fast transactions with low fees are always good, and some payment methods are aimed solely at Russian players, with their specific needs in mind. We ensure the casino sites we list on this page have these kinds of banking options.

Here’s a rundown of some of the deposit methods you’ll be able to find at our trusted Russian online casinos:

QIWI Wallet

The Visa QIWI wallet acts like a third-party processor that forms a buffer between your Russian bank account and the betting site. Customers in Kazakhstan can also use QIWI.

Yandex Money

Yandex Money is another deposit option that is specific to local gamblers. At eligible online casinos, Russia-based customers can fund an e-Wallet anonymously with Russian debit and credit cards. Making casino transfers simply requires a Yandex log-in.

WebMoney

For the best online casinos, Russian players need to move cash around securely. The WebMoney payment service was set up in Russia in the 1990s and allows anonymous transfers across the web. Some fees do apply when moving roubles around to and from gambling sites.

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

The anonymity offered by cryptocurrencies gives a lot more freedom to players to enjoy online casino players without their actions being traced. This has grown in popularity with Russian online casino players since the banning of VPNs back in 2017. As a result, this instant payment method has become available at more online casinos offering their services in Russia.


Online Gambling in Russia: An Overview

2018 rules stipulate that remote gambling is prohibited. Specifically, any games “using data and telecommunications networks (including the internet) or means of communication (including mobile communications)” are outlawed. Even websites providing information to Russians may be violating the law.

The being said, when it comes to online casinos, Russian gamblers love to bet. And unless an internet service provider (ISP) is specifically restricting access, most Russians can open accounts through VPNs. Roskomnadzor is the state watchdog for communications and oversees which gambling sites and online casinos Russia should be blocking.

However, a Russian law banning the use of VPNs was introduced in late 2017. The explanation from President Putin was to stop the spread of extremism, but it, inevitably, prevented access to overseas gambling sites too.

In fact, many overseas online casino operators stopped providing their games to Russian players at the implementation of these laws in 2018, but that isn’t the case for all of them. Some operators still provider their services to Russian players.

Russia has a well-known blacklist of online casino operators that have been banned for providing services in the country. This includes some big names, including Poker Stars, despite questions about including poker in the outright ban on online gambling.

However, even in this case, there are still loopholes, with players who had downloaded the Poker Stars app prior to the operator being blacklisted still being able to use the app without any reported repercussions.

In fact, players don’t seem to be the target of the Russian authorities when it comes to online casino play. While operators are sporadically clamped down on, there are no reports of Russian online casino players being penalized.

It’s assumed by most that online gambling regulations in Russia are unlikely to undergo any more notable changes in the near future, so the popularity of online gambling in the Russia, despite it technically not being legal, is likely to continue.

In terms of land-based gambling, games of chance like roulette and slots have been banned under recent law changes in Russia. However, more relaxed attitudes apply to some sports betting and tote-style gambling.


A Brief History of Online Gambling in Russia

1989 – Laws banning all forms of gambling, implemented in 1928, are lifted, leading to a boom which started in 1988 with the revival of legal slot games, and came to cover all forms of gambling.

2000s – The rising popularity of online gambling around the world is echoed in Russia, which becomes one of the most prolific iGaming nations in the world.

2006 – Vladimir Putin’s Government overturns the previous law, banning all forms of gambling.

2009 – Certain Russian gambling regulations are changed, including the announcement of four legalised gambling zones, and a relaxation of laws surrounding poker, but only in a land-based environment.

2012 – Against much argument from internet providers, the Russian Supreme Court orders providers to block all online gambling sites.

2012 – Simultaneously, Russian regulatory body Roskomnadzor was creating, leading to the creation of the infamous Russian online casino blacklist, and leading to many operators to stop providing their services in Russia.

2014 – Poker Stars becomes the first big name brand to find itself on the Roskomnadzor blacklist and stops providing services to new players. Russian casino players who already have the app are able to continue playing.

2017 – The Russian Government outlaws the use of VPNs. While it is not stated that this is to reduce the ability for online casino play in Russia, it has a major effect.

2018 – Two more legalised gambling zones are added.

2019 – Azov City gambling zone is shut down, leaving a total of five across the whole of Russia.

2020 – Betfair announces it will no longer operate in Russia. Despite some Betfair domains being blacklisted, there is no signs that the operator itself was under any pressure to do so from the Russian government or from Roskomnadzor. 


Live Betting and Casinos in Russia

For online gaming, there is a blanket ban across Russia, but this is not enforced for players. Essentially, if you can find an online casino site in Russia, you are free to play at it. Any action taken by Russian government or regulators has been aimed solely at the operators as opposed to players.

This has led to an estimated 65% of gambling activity in Russia being carried out at online casinos which are, technically, not allowed to operate under Russian gambling regulations.

For land-based casinos, the rules are a little more complex. In 2014, the Russian government allowed the setting up of four special gambling zones. Two more have since been added, while one of the original zones has been removed, leaving five remaining.

Gambling is taxed by the state, and gaming restrictions cover all forms of casino betting, including poker.

Casino zones are spaced out across the vast expanse of Russia, tucked away in far-flung locations like the Baltic coast, Siberian borders, and Pacific coast.

As in Las Vegas and Macau and the majority of online casinos, slot machines dominate, but the popular European Roulette and poker are also hits with gamblers.

Gambling Zone "Siberian Coin": Altay Territory (Siberian Coin) is located in the south of the country on the edge of Siberia. It was one of the first gambling zones to be established back in 2009. The Altai Palace Casino was introduced and is the first legal casino to be built in the country.

Gambling Zone "Primorye": Located near the Pacific port of Vladivostok, one could question why Primorye was chosen as a gambling zone, as it is far away from Moscow.

However, the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone (PIEZ) was the first such zone to open a casino. The huge Tigre de Cristal casino-resort opened in 2016.

Due to its eastern location and proximity to Asia, the zone has been described as the “Vegas of the East”. Tigre de Cristal's business comes from a mix of local Russian gamblers, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean high rollers.

Gambling Zone "Yantarnaya": This is found in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea coast. It opened its first casino, Magic Cristal, in 2016. The casino boasts 150 slot machines and is spread over two storeys.

Gambling Zone "Crimea": A controversial choice, Crimea is situated in what was once part of Ukraine. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 after a Ukrainian revolution by pro-Russian nationalists.

Gambling Zone "Sochi": The 2014 Winter Games, investment in the region has continued since that time. It was added to the existing list of permitted gambling zones in 2014. And in 2017, the city opened its first legalised casino, the Sochi Casino and Resort.

Located in the Gorky Gorod mountain resort, Sochi has had billions of roubles in development since it hosted the Olympics.


Poker & the Rise of Skill Games

The laws around poker and other skill games are still being worked out, and the current regulations are a grey area for everything except online casinos.

At this point, there has been no suggestion from regulators that online poker games will be legalised in Russia, despite the huge market that land-based poker has in the country.

Technically, land-based poker comes under "games of chance", but in 2016 it was suggested that Russia may declare poker as a game of skill.

Some of the world's best players hail from Russia, including poker "phenoms" like Alexander "Joiso" Kostritsyn, and Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov.

Additionally, In 2017, the PartyPoker Million was held at the Sochi Casino & Resort with 1,170 runners taking to the cardroom there, creating a prize pool worth $1,134,900. Though restricted to Russia's gambling zones, poker is proving popular again.

This suggests a possible change in the near future, but again, there has been no mention of this being expanded into the online environment, as suggested by the blacklisting of sites like Poker Stars, which had previously run land-based tournaments in the country.


Russian Gambling at a Glance

Population: 144 million

Legal Age of Gambling: 18

Land-based Casinos (Y/N): Y

Online Casinos Legal (Y/N): N

Popular Games: Slots, roulette, blackjack, poker, sports betting, lottery


What’s Next for Online Gambling in Russia?

While you can never be sure what the future holds, there is little optimism when it comes to any positive changes for players or operators in terms of online gambling regulation in Russia.

The government has made it very clear that even when considering relaxing certain gambling laws in the country, online gambling remains exempt. This was apparent when online gambling was not included in the legalised gambling zones. This was then clear again when online poker was not included in discussions. Even if poker is classified as a skill game as opposed to a game of luck, potentially making it legal, this is unlikely to include online poker sites.

However, with no big changes expected in the near future, this is likely to also mean that whatever technicalities may be in place, players will not be punished in any way for using online casinos in Russia that are available to them.

With well over 60% of Russian online casino play occurring at online sites that are technically not legal, accessibility isn’t likely to stop.

Of course, there may be changes in the future, laws around online gambling may relax, but as stated above, there are currently no signs that this will be the case.


Join a Russia Online Casino Site Today

While the laws around online gambling in Russia may seem intimidating, it is important to remember that they are there to clamp down on operators, not players. The effect for players is that there may be a limited number of online casinos available compared to other jurisdictions, but there is no reason to expect any legal repercussions for using online casinos in Russia.

Now that you understand Russian gambling regulation, you’re ready to try out our favourite Russia online casino sites. Choose a Russian casino site from our expert list and sign up today to enjoy the best gambling experience on the web.

Online Casinos in Russia FAQ

Online gambling has been outlawed across the whole of Russia. However, many online casinos still offer their service to players in the region. While these operators may find themselves blacklisted, there is no history of any action being taken again Russian online casino players and online play remains very popular in the country. The general consensus is that if you can find an online casino site, you can play at it.

It can be a struggle to find the best online casinos in Russia because a relatively large number of the big names have either been blacklisted or chosen to step away from providing services in the country. There is choice however, and you don’t have to do the legwork, because we’ve found the best online casinos in Russia for you.

QIWI Wallet, Yandex Money, and WebMoney have been the popular payment methods at Russia-facing online casinos for many years. These methods allow deposits in roubles, and provide quick and efficient transfers with relative anonymity. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are catching up fast, however, expanding the anonymity offered. This has resulted in more Russian-facing online casinos providing Bitcoin and other crypto options.

Any site we recommend provides state-of-the-art encryption technology and firewalls to ensure that you and your money are kept safe. In terms of legality, which is an important point of discussion in Russia, there is nothing to suggest you won’t be safe. No online casino players have been penalized in Russia at the time of writing.

Bonuses from a Russia online casino will be available to players in the country. However, it is worth being aware that certain payment methods may be exempt from welcome bonuses at other promotions at an online casino site. Always read the terms and conditions of a bonus before attempting to claim it.