Russian authorities have approved new penalties for internet service providers (ISPs) who fail to restrict access to unauthorised online gambling domains.
A few weeks ago Russia’s Duma adopted Bill 1102471-6, which amended the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences. The amendments increased fines for ISPs who fail to block websites that have been flagged by the Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor. The bill was signed into law by Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
The new fines are twice higher than the size of the original penalties. Public officials face fines of RUB 5000 (US $86), while companies will have to pay up to RUB 100,000 ($1,722).
Roskomnadzor identified almost 87,000 offending domains in 2016, which was a 75% increase compared with 2015’s total. Although many of these sites offered porn or undesirable political opinions, 15,900 of the banned domains were gambling sites. This year agency got even busier, banning 1,400 gambling domains in the period of February 15-21.
However, despite active attempts by Roskomnadzor to ban gambling sites, ISPs were slow to take action. A recent study by RBC.ru revealed that 65% of the flagged domains remain accessible to Russians.
Russia has been very aggressive towards online gambling market recently. A few online sports betting licences were issued to domestic operators. In the meantime online casino, poker and other gambling products were prohibited. Last week, Russian authorities issued a legislation that prohibits local financial institutions from processing transactions on behalf of unauthorised online operators.