Russia Ups the Ante for OperatorsPublished August 4, 2020 by Lee R
New taxes and wider applications of minimum requirements distinguish the new tougher Russia regulation market.
Russia is getting tougher.
The New Bill
As the Russian government generally exerts more control over the country, Bill 647044-7 introduced has specific implications for the nation's gambling industry.
The second and third readings of the bill by Russia's regulatory advisory body Duma give the Kremlin greater control over the industry by placing “limits on types of sports events that can be wagered on” while “increase in financial obligations of Russian sports betting licenses.”
The amendment amounts to the raising of license fees and limiting of market entry. In the new model, licensed sportsbooks will only be permitted to accept bets on sports games officially sanctioned by a foreign or domestic governing body. The Kremlin will retain the authority to prohibit wagers at any time at its own discretion.
The new model also introduces a new tax, of an additional 5% tax on gross gaming revenue of certain sports wagers. The tax was formerly applicable to domestic events only; now, the tax will apply to international events as well.
Sportsbooks will further be required to carry a bank guarantee of a minimum of €6 million ($6.95 million) and double that in net assets.
The new legislation is set to take effect shortly after President Putin signs, entering into force some 60 days after its official publication, which takes place upon completion of the signature and related technicalities.
Law firm Denton estimates the laws will formally come into effect in mid-autumn of this year 2020.
In a market of 20 licensed operators, the law has to be seen as a destabilizing force. Some operators certainly may understandably be discouraged from continuing, while others will feel far less comfortable and friendly in the constricted environment. But companies never stop trying to profit. The more licensees that drop out in Russia, the more advantages the remaining competitors in the massive market could perceive.
In a licensed sector valuated at $5.7 billion in 2018 and estimated by Translation Royale to rise some 300% from 2018 to 2022, there are those who will be motivated to pursue the benefits.