Russia round up: Duma passes betting tax; SRO head dies

Russia’s State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, has passed a bill that requires bookmakers to pay 5 percent of their proceeds every quarter towards the development of sports.

The bill, passed in its third and final reading, stipulates that the overall amount of deductions should not be less than 15 million roubles ($260,723) per quarter.

The legislation will allow bookies to advertise in sports media, match broadcasts, at stadiums and on athletes’ uniforms.

Bookmakers Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) head Darina Denisova previously welcomed the advertising part of the bill, saying that “the industry’s representatives have for a while been ready to invest hefty sums in their promotion.”

The bill now needs to be approved by the Federation Council and signed by President Vladimir Putin, but it is unlikely to be turned down or amended at these stages.

The Russian bookmaking industry also heard the news last week that industry champion and the chairman of the First Self-Regulatory Organization of betting companies, Oleg Zhuravsky, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 48. The cause of death was not revealed.

Since 1997, Zhuravsky has been a key figure in Russia’s bookmaking business. He was also one of the key advocates of the law on legalization of e-bets. In 2008, he founded Liga Stavok, which is now one of the leaders in the market.

In the land-based sphere, Elena Leushina, CEO of Royal Time Group, which runs the Oracul casino in Russia’s oldest operating gaming zone, Azov-City, has been detained in a fraud case against a former top banker, the Kazan-based Realnoye Vremya publication reported.

Sources told Realnoye Vremya that Leushina was allegedly put in custody over loans taken by Royal Time Group to operate its gaming facilities from a recently bankrupted bank in Kazan.

The website noted that in late 2016-early 2017 the company backpedalled on its project in the Yantarnaya zone in Kaliningrad, but its former head Rashid Taymasov founded a new legal entity and continued to develop the project.