Russian Gambling Companies on Blacklist Under Payment-Blocking Law

Red Square in Moscow
Russia gets tougher with its gambling sanctions, adding more firms to its payments blacklist.

30-second summary

  • May 2018 payment-blocking law comes into effect
  • 17 companies added to blacklist
  • Pressure is on for Russian banks
  • Who’s involved? Some big names, such as Betcity

Russia’s gambling blacklist continues to grow, as 2019 sees more gambling companies fall victim.

Banks under pressure

Russia approved its payment-blocking legislation in May 2018. Under this new law, banks must stop processing payments for those companies that are on the new blacklist. They are given only five business days to stop processing payments once an offending company has been added.

The government reportedly didn’t start to pressure the banks to fall in line until much later in the year. Despite the pressure, it looks as though the message is still quite mixed.

As Russian media outlet The Bell reported, it seems that some users have still been successful in moving money on and off  Azino777 – a blocked site – using a Mastercard.

Who is affected?

Alongside the long list of those from last year, the Federal Tax Service (FTS) added a further 16 names on Wednesday, February 6, as reported by the Russian gambling affiliate “Bookmaker Ratings”.

Russian financial institutions are forbidden to do business with these 16, plus the first company that was added to the list just last month – Azino777 (a Curacao-licensed online casino).

Named and shamed

The list includes some familiar names, and all hold Russian online sports betting licenses. However, because they also offer casino, poker and other gambling products on internationally licensed sites, they have been added to the expanding blacklist.

Those recognizable names include Leon International Ltd (Leon),Betcity Network NV (Betcity), Baltsport NV (Baltbet) and Pari-Match NV (Parimatch).

The businesses involved

These well-known companies all feature on the country’s 2018 online bookmaker web traffic report, in above average positions. Betcity’s Russian-licensed site ranked 5th, Parimatch 6th, Baltbet 7th and Leon 8th. The result of being added to the blacklist is yet to be reported on.

However, these internationally licensed sites are somewhat used to being in the negative spotlight as most of them regularly feature on Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecom watchdog’s blacklist.

Roskomnadzor’s blacklist has seen Betcity and its 1,800-plus domains added, while Parimatch’s staggering 3,100 domains have also been included.

With Google caving to Russia’s demands only last month, the suggestion of a blacklist is holding even the big players to account. Roskomnadzor has warned that these sanctions are just the start, as heavy fines become commonplace alongside the blacklist.

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