Perhaps one of the most telling indicators of how closely betting and gambling are tied in with Russian culture is the fact that one of its most notable figures–the author Fyodor Dostoevsky–was a gambler himself. Dostoevsky in fact wrote a book titled “The Gambler”, in which the psychological aspects of gambling and how it pertains to the desire to get rich are explored in detail.
Another indicator of the Russian affinity for betting is the deadly game of Russian roulette, which although hasn’t been conclusively shown to originate in Russia, is inextricably tied in with the country’s history, for better or worse.
The Legalities Of Betting Online in Russia
In 2006, President Putin passed a law that effectively banned all forms of gambling outside four specifically designated gambling zones. Taking effect in July 2009, the law restricted all gambling in Russia to the Far East region (close to the Chinese and North Korean borders), the Altai region, the Kaliningrad area, and near the Azov Sea in the south.
Another law was passed in January 2007, which was intended to regulate the operations of online betting sites doing business in Russia. Called the “State regulation of the organization and conduct of gambling” appropriately enough, the law took effect on July 2007.
Under the new betting laws in the country, accepting online bets within Russia are totally banned. A number of people have found legal loopholes to these laws however, and there are quite a few Russian online betting sites and foreign bookmakers that accept bets from Russian citizens from outside the country. Companies that hope to do business in Russia also have to conform to a number of betting licensing requirements imposed by the government.
Current Online Betting Trends In Russia
While it would appear that the current laws in the country encourage a healthier online betting and gambling industry, these laws actually make it harder for companies to carry out their operations legally. While there were previously more than 400 identified online betting websites operating in the country, the new legislation resulted in only 8 of those companies being allowed to carry out their activities legally after January 2007.
Currently, 70% of the Russian gambling and betting market place wagers in specialized shops, with the remaining 30% placing their bets in the same shops as well as online. This current trend points to the need for betting site operators to provide the public with auxiliary offices in the main urban centers, which will give players easier access to betting services.
The History Of Betting In Russia
Gambling and betting related activities were largely unregulated in Russia for many years, and the government mostly turned a blind eye towards such activities scattered all over the country. The communist regime was particularly opposed to all forms of betting, and many saw such pursuits as a form of Western decadence.
With the dismantling and eventual downfall of the communist party however, the country experienced resurgence in gambling. Casinos and various betting establishments soon cropped up in quick succession, as a result of easier availability of funds. It would seem that the tolerant atmosphere towards betting and gambling activities would prevail for the foreseeable future, but changes were already in the making.