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#bofcon2017 – Reflecting on the regulatory steps taken by Russia

The BetOlimp CEO said that a regulated market in Russia presents challenges, but also “brings opportunities for established operators to become leaders in the region”.

Alexey Sinyushkin was part of a star-studded Eastern European focused panel at Betting on Football 2017, reflecting on the recent steps taken by Russia to formally regulate its online sports betting market, which includes a requirement that all financial transactions go through centralised hubs.

Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov suggested that this may have been held up by big companies holding fears over the increased level of transparency. The situation had previously been more comparable to Ukraine, where it has become “convenient for operators to exist in unregulated conditions”.

Meanwhile, Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder & CEO at Bookmaker Ratings, said that this government centred process had reduced the number of depositors via its reviews site from 60% to 12%.

The panel also reflected on statistics showing that 35% of gambling in Russia is now legal, as opposed to 3% just six months ago. Emerging from this regulatory ‘grey area’ has come at a good time for a country preparing to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

Finally, Favbet CEO Nikos Halikias stressed the importance of internet access in Russia, which increased from 50% to 70% between 2011 and 2014, but has since plateaued. He suggested that a renewed focus in this area will aid a “transition from land-based to online” in the country.

The session, which formed a key part of the first day Market Profiles Track at #bofcon2017, was moderated by SBC Ambassador and industry consultant Lasha Machavariani.

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