Russian Duma passes new sports betting laws increasing taxes

Russian sports betting laws are expected to change. The Bill 647044-7 which was presented on the Russian Duma on April has amended “federal regulations on activities for the regulation and conduct of gambling” and will allow the Russian government to implement higher taxes and further increase the financial obligations of licensed sports betting companies. 

Duma has adopted a bill which requires Russia-licensed sports betting operators to pay a new tax of 5% GGR on a quarterly basis to Russian sports federations. Previously, this tax was applied only to domestic events. An operator may risk having its license withdrawn if it fails to pay the relevant contributions within a three-month reporting period. 

The new rules pose limits on the types of events that can be wagered on, limiting activity to those held by Russian national sports federations and professional sports leagues. It also allows sports events held by international sports organisations.

The bill, which has passed through a second and third reading in the Duma, requires licensees to have a RUB500 million bank guarantee and RUB1 billion of assets in place. The bill will enter into force 60 days after its official publication, with the measures expected to take effect in mid-autumn 2020.

As a result, federal gambling regulations will give the Kremlin greater control over the industry and place “limits on types of sports events that can be wagered on,” as well as an “increase in financial obligations of Russian sports betting licenses.” In other words, fewer sports gambling options and increased fees by sports gambling operators. That makes a losing equation for any business.

There are 20 licensed sportsbooks currently operating in Russia, but the new changes might change the landscape radically.

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