Unfortunately today in Russia, gambling is strictly prohibited and has been completely banned in all but four regions of the country – in the Altai, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad, and Primorsky regions. Here you can find traditional land-based casinos, and the two other main forms of gambling activities in the country that are allowed are lotteries (two state-run lotteries – Gosloto and Sportloto) and sports betting.
There are home-grown Russian online casinos, but they are operating illegally, so players who are looking to gamble at online gambling sites such as online casinos, online bingo rooms and online poker rooms tend to do so at foreign gambling sites that are licensed outside of the country and do not operate from within Russian borders.
Gambling History in Russia
All forms of gambling in Russia were banned when Russia became part of the Soviet Union in 1928, and there were no legal land-based casinos until the 1980s when there were changes to the law. From 1989 until 2002 there was a big increase in the number of land-based casinos operating in Russia. Problem gambling quickly became an issue, especially with the younger generation, worrying both citizens and the government and then in 2006, the Russian government took extreme action and banned all forms of gambling in the country. Gambling was only made legal in the four regions that were mentioned above.
Several years later, in 2012, there was a complete ban in the country on ONLINE gambling too, and a ruling by the Supreme Court of Russia stated that foreign websites should be blocked from aiming their business towards Russian citizens. This led to some of the biggest names in the business (Betway, 888 and others) closing their operations in the Russian market in 2014. Many other operators were also blacklisted, although many sites continue to operate to this day.
Russia Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
The new legislation that came into effect in 2006 prohibited the playing of games of chance, but there’s still an ongoing debate as to whether or not poker is a game of chance or skill. The current gambling law describes all kinds of gambling activities as being illegal, apart from the legal types mentioned above that are regulated under specific terms and conditions in the country’s specially selected gambling zones. Although online casinos are illegal and continue to be blocked, they do not fall under Russian jurisdiction and still accept real cash wagers from Russian players.
Although the law states that players may be fined or prosecuted for playing at illegal online casinos, to this day, not one player has ever been prosecuted for playing at them. There are basically no legal online casinos in Russia, but there are still millions of Russian players who enjoy gambling regularly at hundreds of RUB online casinos. The Russian online gambling legislation is frequently changing, and this has led to a great deal of confusion. One thing that is certain is that gambling operations using information and telecommunication networks, including the internet and other means of communication, including mobile communications, are prohibited to this day.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from Russia
Players from Russia who are looking to gamble in the real money mode at an online casino can now play at hundreds of world-class online casinos in their local currency of Russian Ruble (RUB), and you won’t have to pay any taxes on your winnings. However, none of these casinos are based in Russia, and none of them are licensed by Russian authorities. Today’s best RUB casinos are controlled by some of the world’s most renowned gambling operators, and they are fully licensed by some of the toughest online gambling licensing authorities in the world.
This means that you can play in a safe online environment and don’t have to worry about your personal details begin sold to the highest bidder and that your funds are always in safe hands. Russian players can benefit from several other things such as 24-hour player support (usually toll-free), and many of the casinos support the Russia language, which means that you don’t have to view the websites in English or any other language.
That’s not all though. Russian players can also benefit from some amazing casino bonuses (for both new and existing members). You can deposit and withdraw at these foreign gambling sites using various popular Russian online payment options, and you have access to some of the best online casino games in the world (from award-winning providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, Quickspin, IGT, Play’n GO and others). You can also benefit from playing either on desktop or mobile, and the games can generally be launched instantly in your web browser without the need to download any programs from the internet onto your PC.
FAQ Useful to Players from Russia
Are foreign gambling sites safe for Russian players?
Yes. Especially when playing at the online casinos that are licensed in various major licensing jurisdictions such as Malta, Gibraltar, the UK, Kahnawake and Curaçao.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
No. You don’t have to pay taxes on your winnings when playing at foreign gambling sites.
Is it illegal to play at a foreign gambling site?
According to the online gambling law in Russia, players may be fined for playing at online casino for real money in Russia, but as mentioned, no one has yet been fined or prosecuted.
How do I deposit and withdraw at a foreign gambling site that welcomes Russia players?
You can deposit and withdraw using a variety of popular Russian online payment options, some of which include major credit & debit cards and e-wallets, plus several other reliable methods that are popular with Russian players are also now widely accepted.
Can I play in Russian Ruble?
Yes. almost every online casino today that welcomes Russia players also welcomes Russia Ruble and several other major world currencies.
What kind of support is there for Russians at foreign gambling sites?
The main kind of player support that you can count on at most RUB online casinos today include email support, live chat support and telephone support (often toll-free for Russians).
Online Gambling Highlights in Russia
- Claim a guaranteed welcome bonus as a new player signing up to an online casino for the first time
- Play in your local currency of RUB and deposit & withdraw using various popular Russian online payment options
- Play at some of the best online casinos in the world on 1,000’s of games to choose from. These games have been developed by some of the best online casino software providers in the world
- Live dealer casino games also now widely available
- You can count on 24-hour player support (usually toll-free and available in Russian)
- Big jackpots to be won daily from as little as RUB5.00
- Play at hundreds of fully licensed gambling sites either on desktop or mobile and access the games either instantly in your web browser or, occasionally, from within a perfectly secure casino download client
- Become part of a rewarding loyalty and VIP program when you sign up to an online casino and start playing regularly in the real money mode
- Secure online gaming environments that are protected by 256-bit SSL encryption technology means that your funds and your personal details are always kept safe
Problem Gambling Help in Russia
There are several internationally accredited, non-profit organizations that specialize in treating problem gambling and today’s best RUB online casinos provide several secure links to trusted websites such as Gamble Aware, GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous and Gambling Therapy.
Many of these organizations provide free information and support in the form of useful articles, online forums, questionnaires, faq sections and/or several other useful problem gambling tools, together with advice & support from professionally trained counsellors. The telephone numbers are sometimes toll-free, plus you can also visit online chatrooms and use live text chat to talk about issues related to problem gambling at some of these websites.