As much anticiapted and expected from Russia’s leading lottery operator Stoloto, they just debuted their 888.ru online betting site, which will try to give the competition a run for their money. They name might sound familiar to betting officianados but they have nothing to do with UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings. Stoloto assured the naming was totally coincidental, but no doubt they will benefit from the initial association.
To promote their launch, the new betting site is offering a RUB 2k (US $30) free bet to try to snatch new gamblers and encourage them to sign up and play. 888.ru is using a Betconstruct platform, and will work under a license that was originally granted to Russian bookmaker 23Bet.
888.ru will be part of the ‘First SRO bookmakers’ association. Those members are required to use the TSUPIS centralized hub to process online gambling transactions. For this reason, becoming a member is not that simple. 888.ru will require of its new users to undergo a three-step registration process. First they’ll have to open an account online, then they must register with TSUPIS, and lastly they’ll have to confirm their identity via Skype.
It doesn’t go far as Liga Stavok, who is another one the First SRO’s members, and are also Russia’s first licensed online bookmaker. They require their clients to finish up the registration process by showing their I.Ds/passports in person at one of their retail shops. It’s a process that can be offputting. So 888.ru does have a comparatively easier process that Liga Stavok, and offers another possibility for future licensees who don’t have a large retail presence to verfies identities.
Later this year, the First SRO’s TSUPIS system will add another member to its association. Moscow’s Sportbet, who actually holds the first bookmaking License ever issued by Russia’s Federal Tax Service back in 2009, signed a deal a few days ago, on June 14, to start conducting online payments via TSUPIS, in the fourth quarter of this year.
Some are speculating that Stoloto branched out into online sports betting because its online lottery site might get shaved down or cut back a bit. Russia’s TASS news agency reported this week that legislators have proposed a draft bill that seeks prohibition of online sales of non-draw lottery games. And it has a real chance to pass.
The Duma members who put up the draft bill are arguing that the existing legislation is too vague and unclear on what exactly constitutes a non-draw lottery, which they are claiming has opened the back door to illegal operators offering prohibited products such as online slots which the government has restricted.
Whatever the outcome, Russia is moving in a positive direction when it comes to regulating and launching online betting sites that Russians will soon enjoy.