Russia’s campaign against illegal online gambling has reached foreign and domestic social networks.
Roskomnadzor, a Russian telecom watchdog, has been monitoring hundreds of online sites and adding unauthorised online gambling domains to its blacklist. In August Roskomnadzor also started blacklisting social media accounts belonging to online gambling websites and operators.
The strategy that aims to enforce restrictions on promoting or facilitating online gambling games came a few weeks earlier, when three betting websites found their Twitter accounts suspended for no reason.
Roskomnadzor has now formally warned the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Russian social media network VKontakte to suspend accounts that seemingly broke the rules. VKontake alone blocked around 250 accounts linked to over 40 companies.
According to the interview with Nikolai Oganezov, head of the Bookmakers Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), in Betting Business Russia, the social media purge might look good in Roskomnadzor’s reports to the government, “but the real informal sector it does not kill.”
Oganezov says that Roskomnadzor is not addressing the real issues. Instead of choosing to block sites and social media accounts, he believes the best way is to “create favourable conditions for legal business”, such as more reasonable tax rates, improved marketing and payment systems.