Russian authorities have resumed their blacklisting operations on offshore companies that are unlicensed to provide gambling services to the local population.
According to Russian law, only a few sportsbooks that are located within the country itself have any right to provide some kind of gambling products to the Russian consumer as well as have access to outside markets as well.
The list has been updated with as many as 16 companies after a dormant seven months since the last update on January 2019.
Russian authorities are also considering to fine the search engine giant Google for failing to block all of the illegal gambling websites that keep on appearing in Russian search arches.
Most of the companies that have been added to the list are stationed and regulated in Curacao as well as Cyprus.
There are some notable names as well, such as Panbet Curacao NV and 1xBet.
However, there are at least a dozen more companies that will be receiving a permanent ban on operating in the Russian market, even if the authorities lighten up the regulations somehow.
The Russian Federation has been isolating itself economically from most of the world in the last couple of years. They’ve been targeting quite a lot of industries and restricting access to only local brands rather than introduce a free market.
For example, Russian financial experts, who you can find by following this link, have also commented on the economic isolation that Russia is subjecting most of its industries, mentioning how offshore financial companies have been kicked out of Moscow after their licenses were revoked alongside multiple other service providers.
This policy of allowing only local brands in the gambling market is nothing new as well, as Russia is trying to maintain only a handful of online gambling providers and offline gambling is all but non-existent as it is restricted to only a few regions within the country.
At the moment, the Russian state Duma doesn’t see gambling as the most lucrative industry it could allow operation for in Russia, saying that it would cause much more harm than good for the Russian population.
Instead, they’ll most likely focus on the more pressing matters which are the declining oil outputs and a potential spike in their currency exchange rate.
Targeting Google again
The Russian telecom watchdog has also voiced their desire to hold Google accountable as they’re clearly not performing according to the partnership with the government. Google’s main task was to somehow delete all unlicensed gambling entities from Russian search results, but since they’ve started to appear again, the company is most likely going to be found at fault.
Google has already faced a fine in Russia worth $7,500 because it didn’t connect with the Federal state information system. Most are saying that it was a good decision as it was becoming a human rights issue more than company value issue.
Now though, the tech giant will most likely have to pay around $10,000 in fines for failing to meet the requirements from the government and in this case, there’s no moral compass that would protect it.
According to Alexander Zharov, the chief executive of Roskomnadzor mentioned that as many as one-third of the banned entities were still ranking high in Google’s searches for Russian citizens, which was a clear breach of local regulations.
The only way Google could avoid the fine is if they ramp up their filtering activities and remove all the unlicensed companies from the search results.
Cracking down even harder
Roskomnadzor understands that a lot of their citizens are using VPN services in order to connect to unlicensed companies that are being filtered out by most web browsers.
Therefore, the institution is asking for more power to enforce a stricter regulation on these companies.
In the past, one of Russia’s most popular VPN services, Kaspersky was warned that if they didn’t connect to the Federal State Information System (FGIS), they’d be shut down. They were forced to comply while other major providers simply closed their Moscow offices and relocated to nearby countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
It looks like Russia is not planning to go soft on its regulation imposed years ago and continues to double down on its laws without even the slightest look backward.