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Russian Banks Enforcing Ban on Offshore Operators

Ryan Knuppel

Last year, the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, signed a very important bill which will affect the country and its perspective on gambling. According to this bill, all banks should not allow transactions from offshore gambling operators. Therefore, some of them are already doing their job and blocking payments to and from bookmakers which are not registered in Russia. One of the most popular Russian banks, Sberbank, has just confirmed that they have intentions to respect the law and forbid all payments that come from offshore casinos or are deposited to them. The Federal Law #244 states that payments using cards for foreign institutions that have anything to do with gambling are strictly prohibited.

Sberbank made sure that they complied with the laws imposed by the Russian Federation and its regulators. However, players who want to use Sberbank to play on casinos which are registered in Russia will have no limits in terms of payments via this banks. The country has a pretty good reason for this law. Namely, they cannot tax the casinos that are registered outside of Russia. This resulted in many players preferring offshore casinos to the ones in the country, in order to avoid any kind of tax on their wins. Naturally, all Russian casinos suffered because of that, and the illegal and unfair competition was created that way. Simply put, the operators in the country cannot do anything to attract more players as they opted for offshore ones. This is where the regulations came in to try and correct the injustice.

The changes are taking place in the domain of sports betting as well. The Russian regulators decided to issue licenses for sports bettors, and Bwin became the first big international gambling company and website that was allowed to offer sports betting in Russia in a partnership with the local company called Digital Betting LLC. Furthermore, the government of Russia is doing its best to make everything legal by asking the licensed operators to use TSUPIS. It is a type of e-wallet like PayPal, and it has already become obligatory for them. Therefore, if you are in Russia and you want to gamble online, you simply must create a TSUPIS account. The problem is that, regardless of your wins or loses, TSUPIS will take a fee from your withdrawals which will be considered a tax on gambling. The Stars Group is just one of the operators that are registered in Russia and that suffered heavy losses due to players registering on offshore sites. They have a casino in Russia which works pretty well, but the problem of offshore companies remained a pressing issue not only for them but for all operators within the country. The Stars Group is happy that some of the banks already started blocking payments, but there is still a long way to go before all banks implement the change.

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