Sports betting has become widespread in Russia. This trend has been clearly seen in recent years, which is associated with the vigorous activity of bookmakers.
These companies accept bets on the Internet, thanks to which the number of people who want to guess the outcome of matches has increased markedly. For some, betting on games has become a source of additional income, therefore, people who are ready to take risks tend to use their chances.
However, it can be difficult for novice bettors to navigate the abundance of sports betting sites in Russia. Today, many online establishments offer their services but which bookmaker is better to contact? What points must be taken into account? Read on to find out more.
The legal position of the sports betting industry in Russia has been quite ambiguous until recently.
In recent Russian history, gambling was practically not regulated by the state until 2006, when the law “On State Regulation of Organization and Conduct of Gambling” (No. 244-FZ) was adopted. According to this document, the activities of casinos – and other gambling establishments in Russia – were prohibited, except for specially approved gambling zones.
In addition to territorially limited casinos, sports betting through bookmakers and sweepstakes have become a legal form of gambling. They can operate throughout the country but are required to go through a licensing procedure.
Today, bookmakers in Russia are more focused on online betting. They are more convenient, simpler, and more popular than traditional ones. Most players have long preferred to bet on the Internet. However, the situation with online gambling in Russia remains a bit unclear.
The law of 2006 established that “the activities of organizing and conducting gambling using information and telecommunication networks, including the Internet, as well as communications, including mobile communications, are prohibited”, except for exceptional cases. Thus, online betting has been removed from the legal field in the Russian Federation.
Despite this, players continued to take part in online games and place bets, since only the organization of gambling fell under the ban and not participating in them.
The position of bookmakers became more complicated after the decision of the government to oblige Internet providers to block such sites. In 2014, a “black list” of resources was compiled (which includes, among others, William Hill). Access to them must be restricted by the provider.
Despite the ban on betting in Russia, there are no fewer fans of making money on bets. However, gamblers still face some inconveniences. For example, large bookmakers like Bwin, although they accept bets from Russian players, do not provide them with all the features of a registered client.
In connection with the growth of shadow bookmakers, the Russian government has amended the law on gambling. According to this bill, licensed bookmakers must create self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and interactive betting centers (CUPIS). Those will work on the principle of a credit institution in accordance with the law “On banks and banking activities.”
In essence, CUPIS is a bank that regulates monetary transactions between a player and a bookmaker. Thus, the government hoped to minimize the risk of fraud.
So, in order to fight the market of illegal bets on the Internet, since February 2016, the first Center for Accounting for Transfers of Interactive Rates (CUPIS) began its work in Russia – a joint project of NPO Mobile Card LLC and the First Self-Regulatory Organization of Bookmakers Union. CUPIS provides a legal, convenient, and safe service for accepting interactive bets and receiving winnings.
Now a player who is going to bet via the Internet will have to go through the CUPIS. This is an intermediary between the player and the bookmaker or sweepstakes. Bets on sports events can be made both in cash and using ATMs and terminals or in the form of electronic payments. But first, the participant must register on the website of the bookmaker and CUPIS.
The first bookmaker in Russia to legally accept online bets was the Liga Stavok company. Later, bookmakers “1xstavka” and Leon joined it.
The organizers of the center believe that thanks to a clear and transparent new scheme for organizing online betting and ensuring the financial security of its participants, the number of legal bets in Russia will increase significantly.
As for foreign bookmakers, everything remains the same for now. In order to legally enter the Russian gambling market, a foreign bookmaker will have to fulfill a number of conditions. First, get a license and open a representative office in Russia. Then, join a self-regulatory organization and organize the storage of all information about transactions and about players on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Taking into account some contradictions in the legislation, one can hardly count on the legalization of foreign operators in the near future. Although there is no ban on gambling in relation to playing citizens, administrative and criminal liability is provided for organizing such games on the Internet (including for accepting bets).
A legal entity that organizes and/or conducts gambling using the Internet may be subject to administrative liability in the form of a fine in the amount of 700,000 to 1 million rubles.
Individuals are punished with a fine of up to 500,000 rubles or compulsory work. Either restriction of liberty for up to 4 years, or imprisonment for up to 2 years.
The legalization of sports betting in bookmakers in Russia took place gradually, as well as deductions to the state budget from this area of activity.
On January 20, 2014, article 214.7 of the tax code came into force, which contains a clause on the need to pay income tax in the amount of 13% on winnings from bets at bookmakers.
Federal Law No. 354-FZ dated November 27, 2017, amended the Tax Code on the calculation of tax on income of individuals from participation in gambling and lotteries.
According to the new rules, the tax can be waived if the total payments for the year do not exceed 4,000 rubles.
With the number of payments for the year from 4,001 to 15,000 rubles, the player must pay the tax himself. If the amount exceeds 15,000 rubles, the tax must be paid by the bookmaker.
When choosing the best betting site, any criteria carries an element of subjectivity, since it is just a personal opinion. But still, when choosing the best bookmakers in Russia, important aspects are taken into account, among them:
The combination of these factors is taken into account on the basis of which the list of the best bookmakers is determined. Bettors are advised to deal with legal offices, as this way you will be more protected.
The reliability of a bookmaker is determined by the availability of a license and the efficient work of the support service. Such companies promptly process user requests, respond to complaints, and resolve disputes. In Russia, there is a high degree of protection of the personal data of customers. Users do not face technical difficulties when withdrawing funds, and in case of difficulties, specialists help to solve them. Still, reliable offices are licensed, the activities of such establishments are regulated by regulatory authorities.
An important role is played by the reputation of the bookmaker. It consists of how long the office has been on the market, what are the reviews of its customers, how efficiently it works.
The bonus policy of sports betting sites in Russia also affects the rating of the bookmaker. Permanent promotions and those that take place periodically are taken into account. Bonuses during registration are highly important to Russian users – no deposit and deposit, cashback, as well as other programs. The opportunity to receive promotions from bookmakers is of great importance for bettors.
Russian bookmakers understand that today’s users mostly place bets from their smartphones and tablets. Therefore, offices do not bypass the issue of developing a mobile version of the site. The best Russian betting platforms are well adapted for gadgets with different operating systems. Some bookmakers even offer dedicated mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows. The use of such software greatly simplifies the game of betting.
The convenience of the site is of great importance for Russian bettors. If the site of the office does not have good functionality, users will give preference to other bookmakers. With convenient navigation, it is much easier to navigate the site – make deposits, receive bonuses, explore the site, find the necessary sections, select events for bets. If the developers have not paid due attention to this issue, the office begins to lose potential customers.
Having good odds is incredibly important when choosing an online sports betting site in Russia. Naturally, bookmakers cannot set them at 2.0. In this case, the offices would not be able to earn on sports betting. Odds from 1.85 are considered high, specific parameters depend on the bookmaker’s policy, direction features, and other nuances. For top competitions and important events in Russia, the odds will be higher.
Bookmakers have different betting options. Some bookmakers boast a large number of directions on which you can bet. In addition to football, hockey, and other popular sports in Russia, less common ones can be represented there – for example, horse racing, snooker, darts, and others. Bettors love betting sites where you can bet on many matches and competitions. Attention is also drawn to the conditions for making live bets (they are made during the game).
It is important for users that payment transactions are carried out quickly and without any complications. A major plus is a large number of options for depositing and withdrawing funds. In this case, the user will be able to choose the most convenient way for himself. Limits, the size of the commission, and the period of transactions are also taken into account.
The first and key factor for the correctness of rates in Russia is the task of not getting into an illegal office. Law No. 222-FZ of 2014 introduced the rules for licensing betting activities in the state. All betting companies that accept sports betting both offline and online are required to be members of a self-regulatory organization – SRO. If the bookmaker is not a member of the SRO, then his activity is not considered legal, which means that it will not be possible to get the truth from a bettor in the event of a possible conflict with such an office.
What to do?
As of mid-2021, there are 21 legal bookmakers in the country, each with its own website, mobile applications, and other services. Bookmakers not included in this list are persistently blocked by Roskomnadzor, which will cause additional discomfort to sports betting fans who have chosen the “illegal path”.
Most often in Russian bookmakers, players place bets on the following sports:
The most popular sport to bet on in the world is football. From a mathematical point of view, football does not look very predictable, primarily because there are 3 outcomes in each match:
In this case, the probability of a correct result is only 33.3%, although soccer also includes bets on other outcomes, where the chances of winning against the bookmaker are 50/50 (totals, odds, handicaps, goals, etc.).
Also in recent years, football has become less predictable due to match-fixing. Today, the favorite does not have to lose or draw for the cheaters to win. Sometimes it is enough for the losing side to score the first goal of the game. Often, the odds per goal from an outsider reach very high rates, and no one will later remember that the winning team with a score of 3:1 or more conceded first. Only the persons involved in this agreement will know about this, and ordinary bettors may remain in the red if, for example, they expected that the weakest team would not score.
In fact, football is one of the most predictable sports, at least for those players who are well versed in this discipline. No need to bet on interest, only a thorough analysis and evaluation will save and increase your bank!
When answering the question of which sport is easier to make money on bets in Russia, special attention should be paid to tennis. Tennis competitions are very popular all over the world and not only for men but also for women.
Tennis is a fairly predictable sport, although there are nuances in it too. Let's start with the fact that this is an individual sport and the result depends only on one athlete, and not on the whole team, as in football. On the one hand, it is easier to evaluate the form and statistics of a particular tennis player, and if you are well versed in this, then you can really make good money. But the flip side of the coin is that there are a lot of tournaments in tennis and it is difficult to predict which of them the athlete focuses on. Instability is a big problem in modern tennis, and more so for women.
Also, before placing a bet, carefully study the athlete, not only the latest results but also the statistics of performances on different surfaces. Luckily, Russian tennis players are incredibly good, and Russian bettors often earn money when betting patriotically.
But a big plus for betting on tennis is only having 2 outcomes: win 1 or win 2. Do not think that betting on the favorite, for example, with a coefficient of 1.45, the bet will definitely be winning. Tennis is also unpredictable, though to a lesser extent than other sports.
Basketball is one of the most predictable sports. First, because most basketball bets are two-sided, not three-sided - so the odds of winning increase from 33% to 50%. In addition, the odds for basketball matches are very high, and most importantly, the betting line is very wide, both pre-match and live. If you are an experienced player and know how to evaluate teams well, then the chances of beating the bookmakers are really high.
It is very common in Russia to make point predictions in basketball. It is known to be a productive sport compared to football, hockey, and others. If you conduct a good analysis, you can find games in which a big total will be broken, both general and individual. Also, Russian bookmakers offer to bet on the number of points of a particular athlete. Here you need to know about the performance of the players and find those who regularly score a lot.
In basketball, due to the high intensity, everything can quickly change in one direction or another. For example, the strongest team lost a few points in a few minutes, but if you are a knowledgeable experienced player, then you understand that this situation is temporary and the recovery will follow soon. In this case, it is very appropriate to place a bet on a team that is stronger. In general, live betting on basketball is very common now and many Russians win by betting on the total, handicap, or quarter winner and various other outcomes.
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in Russia and betting on this discipline is very popular. But unfortunately, it is not easy to beat bookmakers by betting on the best teams. Bookmakers expediently inflate the odds for some events in order to catch naive bettors. Here you need to be very careful and well versed in this sport. Otherwise, the bank will merge quickly.
Many bets on hockey are made on the two strongest and most popular leagues in the world - the NHL and the KHL. The NHL and KHL have been listed among the unpredictable leagues, but the World Championship, which takes place every year, is much better in this regard. The national teams are well studied, they often play with each other, so the passability of bets increases.
When it comes to the types of bets that Russian bettors use most often, they can vary from simple bets to complex ones and betting systems. Novice bettors often opt for simple types of bets that are understandable and you don’t need much betting knowledge to put them on a betting slip.
On the other hand, more experienced sports bettors in Russia tend to play fewer games but combine bets and make systems in order to increase winning possibilities.
As Russians bet on many different sports, naming all the bets that are available in sports betting sites in Russia will be impossible. Instead, the most commonly used bets in Russia (most of which can be used for various sports) will be presented below.
You guess whether the home team or the away team wins, or the match ends in a draw (if draw in that sport is possible, like football.) They are marked as:
For example, CSKA is playing against Zenit. If CSKA is playing at home and you think they will win, you put 1. If you think Zenit will win, you put 2. And if you think the match will end in a draw, you put X.
This type of bet is widely used in Russia among novice bettors as it applies for any sport.
In this game, you can bet on two outcomes, out of three possible. The odds are, of course, much lower than for the final outcome with one sign, but the possibility of guessing is also much higher.
On the example of CSKA-Zenit, you can put 1X, which means that either CSKA will win or the match will end in a draw. If you put 12, it means either CSKA or Zenit will win, and the match will not end in a draw.
This type of bet is also widely played in Russia among novice bettors as they are quite winnable, but the odds are very low and lots of matches must be played in order to win.
It is difficult to guess the final outcome, but the odds for this game are much higher. Russian bettors like to play this type of bet when a derby match is about to be played. For example, when Zenit and CSKA play against each other, there is a high chance that the match will end up in a draw, so it is common to guess 0:0 or 1:1 as the final score.
This is a similar game as the previous one, only now you are guessing the exact result after the first 45 minutes. This should be a bit easier since it often happens that the first half ends with a score of 0:0, especially if the best teams, such as CSKA, Zenit, Dynamo, Lokomotiv, and Spartak are playing against each other.
In this game, you have to predict the total number of goals/points that will be scored in the match, i.e. whether it will be bigger or smaller than the limit offered by the bookmaker.
As this type of bet is 50-50, Russian bookmakers will give higher margins than expected. For example, in a basketball match between CSKA and Unics, the margin for the total points at the end of the game can be 160. It is therefore hard to guess whether the total game points will be higher or lower than 160. But it’s still quite popular, especially among basketball fans.
In this type of betting, you guess the outcome, but with the advantage of a team before the start. If Zenit is playing against FC Ufa, experienced Russian bettors will place a handicap on Zenit, which means that Zenit will have to win with 2 or more goals difference. The chances of winning are smaller but the odds are better.
Handicaps are also playable with all sports and that’s why it’s one of the most popular types of bets in Russia.
You can also bet on the overall winner of a league, competition, or tournament. Again, more experienced bettors in Russia love these types of bets as they are purely based on a systematic analysis of all teams and their transfer business before the league starts. They are also applicable for all sports which helps their widespread use in Russia.
Bookmaker margin – the concept came to the Russian language from France and means difference or advantage. In betting, the concept has not changed in essence. This is the size of the bookmaker’s guaranteed earnings from each bet. Experienced Russian players define margin as a house fee, which is also true.
The margin affects the size of the Russian bookmaker’s odds: the lower it is, the higher the odds. At the same time, the betting company often does not disclose the difference that it lays in the odds. There are reasons for this:
An example of a coin toss will help you understand what margin is in the work of bookmakers. The chances of getting heads or tails are 50/50. Logically, the bookmaker should accept bets on a coin falling on one side or another with an equal coefficient of 2.0 (100% / 50% = 2). If the bookmaker accepts an equal number of bets for each event, the office will not earn anything. Therefore, bookmakers have found a profitable way of earning for themselves.
In the world of betting, as in football, logic does not work. Bookmakers in Russia will put their profit into the initial odds of 2.0. In such a situation, the bookmaker will offer to bet on equivalent outcomes with quotes from 1.8 to 1.95. This is where the margin difference lies.
When choosing a betting company in Russia, a player should pay attention not to the bright design of the official website, the abundance of ambassadors, or tempting bonuses, but to the size of the margin. Experienced bettors will not let you lie: in the long run, even its minimum value affects income.
According to the level of marginality, bookmakers are divided into three categories:
Most legal bookmakers in Russia operate in the middle segment.
Remember: the lower the rating and media coverage of the event, the higher the underestimation of the coefficients will be. For example, a Champions League play-off match will have a lower margin than a Chinese Super League championship game.
The second distinguishing feature of bookmakers with low margin, in addition to the percentage, is a number of indicators:
Sports betting sites in Russia with similar characteristics are great for professional players who put emphasis on “distance”.
Formally, in betting, cashback is the transfer of money back to the client’s account after a bet is made or a deposit is made. More often, players come across the first option of bonuses, when the bookmaker returns money from lost bets – the return amount usually does not exceed 20%, but in some cases, it can be even higher. Sports betting with cashback for registration is an ideal option for those who want to try their hand at a new bookmaker with cashback.
At the moment, there are the following types of cashback bonuses in Russian bookmakers:
Players can receive promotions for a certain period of time – for example, for a month. Bettors make bets, for each of which points are awarded. Subsequently, these points can be exchanged for free bets or real money.
Players replenish their accounts as part of a certain promotion. After the full amount of money is affixed with lost bets, bettors will be able to receive a certain percentage of the merged deposit.
Players can receive free bets for losses – in this case, when wagering the returned amount, exactly the declared amount of funds will come to the real account: for example, if a free bet of 500 rubles was assigned, then when wagering it, it will be impossible to receive a large amount.
Improved odds are one of the types of promotions that bookmakers carry out in order to attract new customers or encourage existing ones. Bonuses in this category are offered to both new and existing players and allow you to earn a free bet. The bookmaker raises the odds for a certain outcome of a sporting event in order to make the bet more attractive to players. Usually, such promotions are accompanied by certain stipulated conditions.
After the bettor has created an account and verified it, you need to make your first deposit. In most cases, companies set limits on replenishment, for example, the minimum amount of a deposit. Bonuses are also limited by the maximum size, but at the same time, bettors can replenish their accounts with larger amounts. For example, if a bookmaker offers a welcome bonus of 10,000 rubles, then you can deposit 20,000 or more, but the maximum bonus amount will remain unchanged.
A referral bonus is a unique offer, within which users of betting companies can receive additional funds for inviting a new client to the betting shop. It works like this: a player participating in the promotion receives their own promotional code, which must be distributed among potential new customers. It is enough to copy it and pass it on to your friends so that they indicate a unique combination of characters when registering.
Also, depending on the bookmaker, bettors registering with a promotional code need to fulfill additional conditions. For example, the “Bring a friend” bonus from the Olimp betting company can be received only after registering with a promotional code and then making a deposit in the amount of 1000 rubles or more. In this case, players will receive additional bonuses: 500 rubles for a new user and the same amount for the bettor who provided the promo code.
One more detail – the player who invited a friend usually receives for each new user 5% of each deposit of the invited client as a bonus, depending on a betting site.
Loyalty programs of betting companies in Russia are aimed at attracting new customers and encouraging the existing segment. Basically, the essence of such programs is to collect certain credits/points or to receive interest on bets placed. Points can be exchanged for various prizes or privileges. Do not confuse these programs with programs for professional players, they are not always suitable for pros.
✅ Crypto is not present – The demand for cryptocurrency bets in the Russian Federation is growing noticeably, however, legal bookmakers flatly refuse to work with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Here it is worth mentioning a large-scale change in the betting market in Russia: from the beginning of the 21st year, bookmakers without a license began to be severely squeezed out and blocked.
This means that you will have to take even more risks and remain anonymous if you are aiming to bet in cryptocurrencies. Suitable sites, nevertheless, exist and are theoretically available.
✅ Most popular payment options – The most popular are QIWI, Yandex.Money, WebMoney, and bank cards. You can also replenish your gaming account using mobile payment or cash in popular communication stores.
When choosing a payment system, you should be careful about two reasons. First: not all of them are free, you will have to pay a commission for using some (the operator charges, not the bookmaker). Second: in many sports betting sites in Russia, there is such a rule that you can withdraw money from an account only in the way in which it was replenished at least once.
The exception is payments via a mobile phone – the bookmaker will not return the winnings to a mobile phone, and therefore it is better to have another withdrawal method.
✅ All payments, only through CUPIS – All payments between a player and a legal bookmaker in Russia go through CUPIS (Center for Recording Interactive Bet Transfers) – this is required by the current legislation of the Russian Federation. In short, this credit institution acts as an intermediary between the bookmaker and its customers, conducting all monetary transactions between the parties.
For players, the presence of CUPIS does not mean anything special or terrible: the organization does not charge the player additional funds, and even more, so does not accept and calculate bets. All it does is transfer money from the player to the bookmaker and back while keeping track of all the transferred funds.
There are two different Interactive Rate Transfer Accounting Centers in Russia: one of them is called the First CUPIS, the second was created on the basis of Qiwi Bank. Every online bookmaker legal for Russia is connected to one of them. Which one is usually indicated on the bookmaker’s website, in some cases the player finds out about this when he first replenishes his game account. The procedures for replenishing an account are approximately the same in both cases and differ little from the usual procedures for paying via the Internet.
After the player selects the payment system for replenishing the account, the player automatically goes to the CUPIS website (if the bookmaker works through the First CUPIS), or sees the form of the QIWI payment system in front of him (if the bookmaker works through the Qiwi Bank CUPIS). In both cases, all you need to do is simply follow the instructions and prompts shown. In most cases, to carry out an operation on the site, you will need to enter the password sent by SMS. After confirming the password, the money is transferred automatically.
Separately, we will briefly talk about one more tool available to those who play with bookmakers connected to the First CUPIS. This organization offers its own wallet for bettors: the player can replenish it, and then distribute these funds between their accounts in different bookmakers. You can replenish the “CUPIS Wallet” using your bank card (please note: the bank charges a commission for this operation). The balance of this wallet can always be checked in your personal account on the website of the First CUPIS. You can also use the mobile app to work with this wallet.
Gambling is illegal in most of Russia but is legal in Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Altai, and Primorsky regions.
Russian laws and regulations have made some changes over the years and therefore it can be safe to gamble online in Russia if you follow the state gambling directions.
Sports betting is safe and legal in Russia when done at legal and authorized betting sites. As there are some fraud betting sites, one can’t be too careful.
Betting limits are decided by online betting sites and they can vary. If you want to bet as a high-roller, it is always recommended to go for legal betting sites that offer high deposit limits.
Yes. Russian bettors should pay a yearly tax of 13% on all winnings throughout the year.
Withdrawal limits depend on both the online betting site and your preferred payment methods. It can range from minutes to days. Always go with the fastest withdrawal limits possible.
Picking one single best sports betting site is impossible as many people have different tastes and needs. Bearing that in mind, the best sports betting site in Russia will be the one that suits your needs. Always make sure that it is legal, certified, provides great betting options, and great odds.
Russian betting sites offer a variety of sports to bet on. The most popular ones are football, basketball, tennis, and ice hockey.
Football is by far the most popular sport to bet on, not just in Russia, but in the rest of Europe as well.
Russian betting sites use decimal odds. The winning is calculated by multiplying all the odds and the amount of money invested. For example, if you bet 1000 Rubles on CSKA to win, and the odds are 1.50, you will win 1500 (1.50×1000=1500).
Some Russian betting sites will offer free bets as part of bonuses and promotions, although they are somewhat rare. Using free bets is always recommended.
There are two ways of receiving the sign-up bonus – you either receive it automatically upon registration, or you need to deposit the money first. The option depends on the betting house.
As Russia is not even among the top 10 countries with the biggest gambling problems, there aren’t many helplines available. When a problem is detected by either a bettor or family/friends, a simple therapy with a psychologist will do the trick.