Online Payment Measures Being Blocked by Russian Government
Across the globe, countries are deciding whether or not to offer online gambling. In some areas of the world such as the United Kingdom, online gaming thrives. In others, such as the United States, online gambling is just beginning and is only available in a few select states. Each country must develop their own rules and regulations to allow gambling to take place online within the legislative perimeters as decided by the country’s government. Currently, Russia is working to combat online gambling that is unlicensed as they try to create their own framework for gaming. The country is now shutting down online payment measures to try and stop players from taking part in unlicensed gaming.
According to numerous reports, the Russian government is currently working on a framework to allow online gaming to take place in sports betting form. The country looks to launch in the summer time months and want to stop unlicensed gaming from taking place while the decisions are being made.
Back in December, the government created a Self-Regulatory Organization with goals to stop illegal gambling. To try and achieve this goal, the operators of gambling sites are required to sign up with the SRO. The SRO will also be responsible for payment processing, with Yuri Fedorov, the President of the Russian National Association of Bookmakers explained how the new system works.
Player funds must be channeled through the payment processing system so the SRO and the authorities of Russia can monitor the transactions made. This will allow the group to see who is licensed and who is operating under a permit. The transactions will move through a portal online and once the new system is in place, the government will ask for the payment systems in the country to halt the arrangement of said payments with companies that are not signed up to operate with the SRO.
This method of channeling payments via the processing option is expected to stop any transactions between a player and an online gambling site that is not licensed within Russia. The government has not stated how they would apply the system to the areas of the country that allow gambling or if the new system will be applied to every gambling area and any unregulated site will be prohibited within the country.
The Russian government has continued to crackdown on illegal gambling and this is just one additional step that is being used to try and stop unlicensed sites from operating in the country. In December, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, amended the Russian Criminal Code which gave the state more power as well as tools to fight illegal gambling.
The new options available to the government include heavy fines, community service hours, jail time as well as other freedoms being restricted. There are six specifically designed areas that are considered gambling zones. The new amendment, Bill 478806-6, was singed to essentially criminalize online gambling that takes place outside of these zones.
Several sites can be affected by the change including PokerStars. Reports state that PokerStars would most likely be the hardest hit by the blocking of payment processing as they would not be considered a licensed online poker room or casino provider. Last year, the Russian government blocked access to the site and PokerStars released a statement which read that they did not believe that the changes in Russia would affect the site ability to provide service to players in Russia.
More information should be released on this subject in the coming weeks as the country continues to work on the framework for online gaming in regards to the payment processing method and other regulatory changes.