How much do people earn in the gambling business in Russia?

Publication date: 20 Dec 2021

Forbes has conducted a detailed analysis of the Russian gambling industry labour market. According to the study, from 2010 to 2020, the average permanent staff growth rate for companies in the industry was 43% annually. Whereas in 2010 the industry had 1,832 employees, in mid-2021 it had already 14,331 employees. These figures give reason to believe that the gambling industry is the fastest-growing in the Russian Federation in terms of the number of employees.

The increase in the number of people employed in the gambling business over the last 10 years is linked to the legalisation of the industry: companies have been able to employ workers officially.

Lotteries – active growth amid pandemic

The lottery business saw a big breakthrough in terms of employment numbers between 2018 and 2021. It was during the pandemic that the entire official workforce of lottery operators doubled. The lottery business is now in a phase of active growth, not least due to the opening of the ticket distribution network.

As of the beginning of 2021, there are 3 lottery operators in Russia. Two of them belong to S8 Capital holding company: GSL with revenues of 51.5 billion roubles in 2020 and a staff of 20 people, and Sportloto with two people and revenues of 2 billion roubles. The third company is Sports Lotteries with a revenue figure of 53 million roubles and a staff of 18 people.

Lottery companies create few working places. However, their average monthly payroll reaches millions of roubles. In 2020 the average salary in lottery companies was 3.6 million roubles for the period from January to August, and in 2021 it was 2.3 million roubles for the same period. The calculations apply only to GSL and Sportloto.

Representatives of GSL said that the company has not 20 employees, but more than 770. However, according to Rosstat, the operator has 24 full-time employees and 18 part-time workers in 2021.

Today, salaries are the key cost item for GSL, excluding the payment of winnings, budgetary deductions and remuneration to the operator. Back in 2018, 9% of gross profits were spent on salaries; in 2019, it was already 32%. The 2019 results showed that GSL accrued a salary and bonus of RUB 173.6m to President Armen Sarkisian. At the same time, the CEO got 4.4 million and the deputy CEO 1.2 million. All the other 20 full-time employees get 163 million roubles (that is, 8.15 million a year and about 680 thousand a month).

According to Rosstat, the main dynamics of the staff in the lottery industry is due to ticket distributors, not operators. Currently, there are 2905 people working in this sector, half of which belong to TC Center, known as Stoloto. The average salary at TC Center was 431,000 roubles in 2020.

Smaller distributors of lottery tickets paid an average salary to employees in 2020 of 191 thousand roubles, and in 2021 – 151 thousand roubles. In reality, employees of lottery kiosks earn 25-30 thousand roubles, plus sales bonuses.

Casinos and bookmakers go into online

  • The betting business provides the largest number of jobs: 64%, i.e., 8,750 positions. Often these companies recruit a lot of staff, but the salaries paid are relatively low.
  • The number of casino workers has grown from zero to 2,000. This is due to the fact that in 2009 all gambling establishments in the Russian Federation were closed and new casinos only operate in special gambling areas. Read more about this: How does the gambling market work in Russia?

Unlike the lottery, bookmakers, betting shops and casinos have reduced their staff over the past two years. In the betting business this has been due to the closure of betting shops and the move online due to the pandemic. Despite the high earnings of BKs, which reached a combined 235 billion roubles in 2020, average salaries at the betting shops were below the Russian market average. This is due to the fact that the majority of bookmakers’ employees are the staff at the betting shops: security guards, cashiers, hostesses. When the betting shops were forced to close, the average salary in the betting industry increased by 65%, reaching 57 thousand roubles in 2021.

Casinos in Russian gambling zones are also losing staff. Only the Sochi casino has a stable income, the rest of the gambling establishments are on the verge of selling out. Tourism is developing poorly, and the operators’ income depends directly on it. The combined revenues of the companies that control the casinos were 15 billion roubles in 2019, and have fallen to 11.3 billion roubles during the pandemic. Casinos are forced to get rid of staff, resulting in a 17% reduction in the number of employees in 2021, while the average salary rose to 67 thousand roubles, or 31%.

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