9 Jun

Russia’s Lottery Corp to launch nation’s second Online Sportsbook

Russian Online Sportsbook 23BETAccording to Russian gaming industry media outlet, Championat, the nation’s only authorized internet lottery provider, Stoloto, is preparing to launch the nation’s second licensed online sportsbook, under the domain 888.ru. It’s been reported that, despite the incredibly similar namesakes, the new site will run on the Betconstruct platform, and is not associated in any way with UK betting giant, 888 Holdings.

While no specific date has been given for the official launch of the new online sportsbook, further reports indicate that the betting site will be open to the public within a few days, or at least before the end of next week. But for now, a visit to the currently blank 888.ru website simply directs the user to input an administrative login and password.

It’s not certain why Stoloto chose to use the universally recognizable domain “888.ru”, but we can rest assured it has nothing to do with unrequited love for the popular UK betting service and software provider.

Global iGaming news giant CalvinAyre.com noted that, this month alone, Russia’s internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor – Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications – has made moves to block access to 15 domain names associated with the original 888 brand. However, each of them are said to be related to internet gambling services that include casino and poker websites, not online sportsbook services.

Who’s Behind 888.ru Online Sportsbook

888.ru has been issued a licensed under operating name of 23BET.ru, a company established more than a decade ago in 2004. 23BET.ru received a license to facilitate land-based gambling operations in June of 2012, and continues to display the same cover page on its website that was originally debuted last October, vowing to launch a functional iGaming website the moment they get the go-ahead from Russian regulators.

Beginning of a New Era in Russia

Online sports betting is in its infantile stages in Russia – at least, in a nationally legalized and regulated format. The region’s interactive lottery provider debuted its intentions to incorporate online sportsbook operations in November 2015, shortly after 23BET.ru became a member of the First SRO (First Self-Regulated Bookmakers Association of Russia).

Another Russian bookmaking brand and First SRO member, Liga Stavok, announced plans to launch the nation’s first online sportsbook back in April of 2015, but didn’t launch until early this year after it became the first company to receive an operational license for interactive sports betting in February 2016.

After years of piling its resources towards the prevention of illegal gambling, Russia has clearly exhibited a slow and steady path towards authorization and regulation of specific forms of wagering. The Russian Lottery was launched in 2008, and was authorized to sell its first online tickets in 2010.

Now, with a substantial strain of new tax regimes and integrated payment hubs – like First SRO’s TSUPIS, – that will allow government officials to closely monitor all iGaming transactions, we’re finally seeing Russia’s desire to expand iGaming services gathering momentum.