Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has ordered banking and payment processors to purge unauthorized online gambling operators from their client lists.
According to Russian news agency, the Izvestia, Roskomnadzor sent letters to Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, as well as payment processors including Skrill and Yandex instructing them to remove gambling operators from their customer-base in compliance with Russian gambling laws.
Russia is in the process of legalizing and regulating sports betting. A few weeks ago payment processors Skrill and Qiwi found their websites included in Roskomnadzor’s blacklist due to processing illegal payments and having links on their sites to illegal operators. The two companies were granted a 24-hour grace period to remove links to unauthorised Russian gambling sites and to cease processing payments for those sites, the demands with which they complied.
Russia’s gambling law says that the only legal payment provider to process payments for Russian online gambling operators is TSUPIS. Since its launch in February 2016, it has been the country’s first payment processor for interactive betting.
Last week, both Roskomnadzor and the state prosecutor were asked for a legal opinion of mobile telecom firms’ involvement in unauthorized gambling financial transactions by the deputy chairman of the state Duma’s committee on constitutional legislation. Further, the proposal has been made by Roskomnadzor to amend Russian gambling law in order to target online gambling affiliates and any other sites that informed Russian citizens how to deposit funds with unauthorized gambling sites.
Since September 2015, Roskomnadzor has been ordering domestic internet service providers to block online gambling sites, including everything from unregulated Russian sportsbooks to well-known Western brands.