Let’s face it: the population of Russia has had to go through a lot in the last 40 years. From the rise and fall of Communism to the breakup of the Soviet Union, and onwards to the rise of Vladimir Putin and his regime, Russians need things to entertain themselves. Gambling would be the perfect outlet for citizens looking to escape the everyday issues of the country. However, much like every other aspect of their lives, residents have to follow the lead of the government even when it comes to where they visit online from the comfort of their own homes. Gambling has had a tumultuous history in the country, which we will review on this page, including a look at what options are available for players who live there but want to play their favorite casino games online.
Gambling Regulations in Russia
Before the rise of Communism, gambling existed in many formats in Russia, dominated mainly by the national lottery. However, all forms of gambling were banned in 1928. This came as a huge disappointment to the country’s citizens who had come to love playing games of chance like roulette.
This law did not change during the Communist time in the Soviet Union. It was only when communism fell in the late 1980s that slot machines were re-introduced, and then a full opening of the gambling market soon followed. Hundreds of gambling facilities opened with tens of thousands of slot machines offering games to Russians.
When Putin came to power, one item on his agenda was how to protect his citizens form problem gambling. With so many machines and access to games, the President knew proximity was a major factor in gambling issues, so by 2009 he had implemented a ban on gambling activity outside of 4 related geographic regions. The hope was that with travel involved, far fewer people would have access to the games that could take their bankrolls from them. This control of gambling was meant more for slots and table games, with sports betting and lottery still available in most places
What the country didn’t anticipate in the 1990s was the growth of online gambling, so it took additional measures to help control that part of the market. In 2006, all online gambling was banned by the Russian government. At that time, players could still circumvent any ban on sites by using VPN software. The government made this illegal as well in 2017.
Poker has had an interesting journey during all of this. Considered by law to be a game of chance, the growth of the game in Russia has forced the government to relent, even hosting a major tournament in the country last year. There is a discussion of changing the current regulations to make poker a game of skill, thus making it exempt from the current regulations.
Online Casino Software Available to Russians
With all these regulations and bans in place, it can be difficult for Russians to know if they are allowed to gamble online and if so where they can play. For the time being, no one has been prosecuted for trying to play online, so players continue to find ways to access sites that will allow them to make deposits. Software companies have made their own decisions as to whether or not to allow their licensees to accept players from the region, and the likelihood is that operators and vendors would be charged before any player.
While this list could change at any time, we do know that these providers still allow their clients to accept Russian players:
- Real Time Gaming
- Rival Gaming
Best Online Casinos for Russian Players
We wish we had better news for our readers in Russia. The government continues to clamp down on offshore sites accepting players, with a blacklist of at least 50 major sites used by ISPs to block player access. Furthermore, the country has made the use of IP blockers illegal, making it even more difficult. There are very few online payment processors who will accept the risk of Russian translations.
So, the bottom line is this: there are a limited number of sites still open to the idea of taking Russian players. However, we cannot fully recommend these sites for the reason that the government could shut down your access to them or your balances with no notice. We have provided a list of recommended casinos below, which are being recommended on their merits in the industry as a whole. You need to proceed with extreme caution and work to keep as little money as needed on a site in case the legislation becomes tighter. The last thing we want is for any of our readers to lose their money at a site by means that aren’t just playing games.