With Russia being one of the biggest online gambling markets around and forming a big part of the gambling landscape in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet states, it is important to be aware of the status of Bitcoin and online gambling if you are a resident of Russia. In the latest article of our series regarding the status of Bitcoin and online gambling in different countries and what the combination of both means for you, the players, we will take a brief look at the current situation in the world’s biggest country.
What’s the legal situation regarding Bitcoin use in Russia?
Russia is slowly earning a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking countries when it comes to its official position on Bitcoin. While initially considered with suspicion by the Russian officials, Bitcoin’s standing in Russian officialdom has changed. As recently as 2016, there were whispers of a law being introduced which would have resulted in considerable jail terms and/or hefty fines for those found to be using Bitcoin for transactions. It is widely suspected that this position was taken in response to the idea that Bitcoin was being used for funding illegal activities and that Russian officials wanted to crack down on any potential crimes linked to Bitcoin use.
Earlier this year, the Russian Deputy Finance Minister, Alexey Moiseev gave an interview to Bloomberg on the topic of Bitcoin and its official status within the Russian Federation. In it, he suggested that the Russian government was ready to pursue a bill that would allow for legislation regarding the regulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and that this was the necessary path to take in dealing with Bitcoin as an antagonistic approach was not going to work.
Since this news emerged, many experts are predicting that this legislation will be ready to come into effect by 2018 and that Russia will swiftly prepare for the regulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
What about online gambling in Russia?
Unfortunately, the legislation regarding online gambling in Russia is very clear. A 2006 law effectively banned all online gambling and this law has been revisited several times over the years, such as in 2012 and 2017, and each time it has been reinforced with the result being that accessing online gambling facilities from Russia is illegal. The ban has been strengthened as Russia also asks online casinos not to allow gamblers with Russian ISPs to access their sites and has proactively pursued casinos that facilitate online gambling by Russian citizens. As such, being a Russian resident and trying to access online gambling is a complicated process.