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Around Europe, we consider it normal to bet online. Simply switch on your computer or sign into your mobile and place bets at will. However, in some nations, gaining access to internet-based betting is a bit more difficult.

This article will evaluate the state of affairs presently pertaining to accessibility for Russians by examining the Russian government’s attitude towards gambling both online as well as physically.

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Online Bookmakers in Russia – March 2024


It was not until the 1980s that all forms of gambling were prohibited in Russia, even private games among friends. True, there were some people who broke this rule.

In 1989, the Soviet administration lifted the ban on gambling and this led to an explosion in the number of betting houses and casinos that offered slot machines and other games.

The 2009 ban on gambling in Russia was extensive and mostly inclusive with only a few areas around it protected by exception (mainly they included the border districts of some other countries).

The only type of gambling that remained legal was sports betting which mainly relied on Russian Premier League betting to generate most of its revenue, and it was regulated through a stringent licensing system explained in the Gambling Law 2007.

The government’s concern over the rising number of addicts in poker and other games led to their ban.

As early as 2006, online gambling had been banned, but players were not barred from accessing gaming sites, depositing funds or playing. However, in 2012 Russian court decided that it was the duty of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block gambling sites or lose their license.

F.O.N, a prominent Russian bookmaker, was apprehended this year for offering online betting from the Netherlands in violation of the law.

In the spring of 2014, the Russian authorities published a list of more than fifty websites that would be blacklisted (among them William Hill, Ladbrokes and SportingBet), and it is the responsibility of ISPs to block access. The full list is available here.

Flag of Russia

Access to the Sites

In case you would like to check out some of the best bookmakers for residents of Russia, then legality of providing betting services to Russians is debatable.

Russian customers can still access the websites of many major online bookmakers, as a discussion with BetVictor’s Customer Service Representative revealed that Russia is not prohibited. It seems like Russian ISP providers are playing hide and seek with their citizens in order to find websites that haven’t been banned yet.

Bwin for instance, one of the largest betting companies, does not offer bonuses to Russian citizens or people from Ukraine, Belarus and Armenia etc. This is done without any explanation. One can argue that they do not want to be seen as marketing agents for Russia but if they have an opportunity to make money from them, they will accept it.

But What if the Site Is Blocked?

For now, the recent clampdown on the sites and severe warnings by Russia’s government to internet service providers (ISPs) operating in her territory could imply that it will be more difficult in future to access gambling sites. However, technology has given us VPNs which can be bought at a very low price making users to appear as if they are located anywhere they feel like including London, Munich and even Paris where there is a will there is w way.


Russian customers are encouraged to use an e-wallet such as Skrill or Moneybookers etc when making payments. A large number of online betting sites accept those kinds of payment and, it helps them avoid any problems associated with direct deposit from a Russian credit or debit card (no immediate trace).

Final Advice

Gambling is part of Russia’s history, but the government insists on banning it.

Online bookies are unwilling to comply with Russia’s demands, and instead they continue to provide services for Russians. To give up the business of a whole country (and a big one too) with lots of sport lovers and gamblers would be detrimental in terms of profit.

To deal, here, a VPN like Le VPN will mask the sign in location for an ideal betting experience and as such it is important to identify the smaller bookmakers who go unnoticed. The more sites are being banned by the Russian ISPs, it therefore becomes necessary to pick out some of the less popular sportsbooks that remain undetected.

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