Russia’s Roskomnadzor Receives 38,700 Online Gambling-Related Complaints in H1

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media and telecommunications regulator, received more than 38,700 complaints related to the illegal distribution of online gaming content during the first half of the year, local media has reported. The figure presented reflected a substantial 235% increase from the same six months a year earlier.

Тhe watchdog received an overall of 118,000 complaints on the distribution of different types of information that are otherwise illegal in Russia during the first half of the year.

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media or Roskomnadzor was established in its current form back in 2008 to regulate and monitor the mass and telecommunications, electronic media, and different other areas and to penalize violators of Russian laws for the distribution of information of different nature.

Online gambling has been one of the fields watched closely by the regulatory body. Here it is important to note that Russia’s remote gambling industry is among the world’s most strictly regulated ones. Roskomnadzor has actually been the authority appointed to blacklist every gambling-related violator of the local regulations and it can be said that it has been shy in doing what it is expected to do.

The regulator has created quite a hefty and ever-growing list over the past several years. To present a better picture of its activity, we should say that earlier this year, it added more than 1,400 gambling-related domains were added to the blacklist in the span of a single week. Last year, Roskomnadzor blocked over 15,900 gambling domains, those accounting for around 15% of all of the offending domains included in the general blacklist.

Earlier this month, the Russian government approved a previously proposed ban on the use of virtual private networks (VPNs). Among other things, such networks are used by gambling customers to access unauthorized websites. Industry stakeholders and other involved parties have previously expressed doubts about the successful production of any desired effect, but it all shows that Russian lawmakers are determined to do what they need to do in order to prevent residents of the country from accessing certain types of information.

As mentioned above, Russian regulators have remained firm in their stance on the provision of gambling services. Under current regulations, online casino and poker services are strictly prohibited in the country. Sports betting is considered legal and interested operators can apply for licenses from local regulators. However, while the responsible regulatory bodies have granted several licenses to local operators, they have generally neglected international operators over the past several years.

It has been announced in June that GVC will become the first larger international operator to be admitted to Russia’s online sports betting market. The major gambling group was allowed go live in the country through its bwin brand.

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