Bookmakers in Russia live better

Publication date: 16 Sep 2019

Laws and regulations governing activity of bookmakers in European and Asian countries are quite often stricter than those in Russia.

In 2018, Russia’s sports betting market grew by 70%. The global sports betting market on the whole, in its turn, saw a growth of 8%, analysts from H2 Gambling say. According to projections from market research company Technavio, the annual growth will remain at around 8.7% until 2022, and the global sports betting market revenue will reach $370 million by 2022. The online sports betting segment accounts for less than half, or 40%, of the worldwide revenue generation.

Despite the outpacing growth of Russia’s sports betting market, Russian bookmakers are still much inferior to their western colleagues. Compare these numbers:

  • In Russia, about 13.2 million people, or 11% of the population over 18 years old, play for money.
  • In the UK, there are at least 26 million of gamblers that accounts for 48% of the population over 16 years old.

In the US, almost $5 billion in bets were made in Nevada alone in 2017. And let’s get back to the UK, where, according to reports from the Gambling Commission, the total volume of bets approached $20 billion that year. The world’s biggest bookmaker is also based in the UK. Bet365 has a global turnover of almost £53 billion and became UK’s second-highest taxpayer with a £156 million tax bill in 2017. This sum means nothing when compared to the volume of bets on the illegal sports betting market, which, according to The New York Times, is estimated to be anywhere from tens to hundreds of billions of dollars.

How is activity of bookmakers regulated around the world?

It happens quite often that bookmakers in Russia face less strict regulations than their colleagues in other countries. 

  • In Denmark, all sports betting operators are subject to fees of 20% of their revenue (received stakes minus payouts).
  • Germany issued only 20 offline sports betting licenses, and one more company was allowed to accept bets online. 
  • A rare foreign bookmaker has managed to receive a license from the French regulators.
  • Many foreign bookmakers left the Polish market 3 year ago when taxes were increased.
  • Cambodia suspended issuing new licenses in August. Existing licenses won’t be renewed once they expire.
  • No bets are allowed in China (outside Hong Kong and Macau). The only exception is China’s state-run lottery that brings the country’s budget $30 billion annually.

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