Duma Approve Russian Sports Betting Bill 647044-7

Continuing changes in Russia have seen the State Duma approve the second and third readings of Bill 647044-7, greatly altering current sports betting laws in Russia.

Initially sent to the Duma on April 30th, Bill 647044-7 revised ‘federal regulations on activities for the regulation and conduct of gambling.’

Within its mandate, the bill would allow the Kremlin to introduce ‘limits on types of sports events that can be wagered on’ and a further ‘increase on financial obligations of Russian sports betting licences’.

The amendments suggested that approved sportsbooks would only take wagers on sporting events that are sanctioned by official foreign and domestic governing bodies.

The bill remains vague on its definition of ‘international sport organisations’-but notes that all international sporting competitions must be regulated by a relevant governing body , keeping track of the activities of the event.

As a result, the Kremlin will begin to extend its quarterly GGR tax fee of 5 percent on foreign bet forms, helping to fund Russia’s wide-ranging sports federations – an duty previously limited to wagering domestic sports events.

Further reforms also resulted in the Kremlin acquiring additional legislative powers to explicitly revoke or terminate bookmaker licences for non-compliance with tax obligations or incumbents who have failed to report their wagering activities for a reported six month period.

The Kremlin has also raised the obligations of licenced bookmakers, with operators being required to retain a minimum RUB 500 m (€6 m) liability in bank guarantees, with a net asset RUB 1bn (12 m) in.

The latter provision was approved because 14 licenced sportsbooks had been excluded from the liability clause because their licences had been issued prior to 2010 due to the introduction of financial criteria.

Russia currently has 20 licenced sportsbooks authorised by the Russian Federal Tax Authority, whose transactions are tracked and registered by the SRO system of the Government.

Observing trends in the industry, CIS office of the multinational law firm Dentons released the following guidance note: “This bill will enter into force 60 days after its official publication, which will happen after the President assents to the bill and other technicalities are completed. In terms of timelines, we are looking at the new requirements taking effect in mid-autumn 2020.”