As you are probably aware, Russia does not take too kindly to its players gambling online. This doesn’t mean to say that it is not possible to do so, though. While there are no legal internet casinos in Russia, there are many hundreds of offshore casinos which accept players from across the Russian Federation. With that in mind, it is well worth visiting the Russian gambling laws to see what you can and cannot do. Moreover, it is worth examining what these international casinos can offer players based in the Russian Federation. This is precisely what we will do in this article.
An Overview of Gambling in Russia
Officially, gambling is only legal if you live in Altai, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar and Primorsky. These regions allow land-based casino gambling. However, if you wish to bet on casino games online, you are out of luck no matter where in Russia you happen to love. You are entitled to place bets on sports and wager on lottery games, but that is as far as the law allows.
The current Russian gambling laws date back to 2006. The regulations came in after a surge in online gambling activity, predominantly at offshore casinos. In 2012, Russian amended its gambling laws to ensure that offshore betting sites could be blocked by Russian internet service providers (ISPs). This is pretty much the situation we find ourselves in today. However, Russians might think that sports betting and lottery games are their only way to bet online, though, but this is not technically true. For those who are prepared to take risks, other options are available.
By using a VPN (virtual private network), it is possible to get around the Supreme Court of Russia’s blocks, and access offshore and foreign sites, many of which accept players who reside in the Russian Federation. Now it is essential that players understand that Russia has put punishments in place for players who break the law. However, millions of Russians regularly bet online, and no reported punishments have ever been handed out. Because of this, you are relatively safe if you wish to gamble online at international casino sites.
Russia’s Most Played Casino Games
Before we look at some of the features of the best Russian online casinos, we need to look at the legality of various casino games and other forms of gambling games in Russia. Yes, most of them are outlawed from the start, but we should take a look at them nonetheless.
Online Casino Games: Online casino games are not permitted in Russia, irrespective of where you live. There are no legalised online casinos in Russia, and before you think of popping over to poker rooms, there are none of those, either. All casino games (including slots) whether games of skill or chance are banned in the Russian Federation.
Lottery Games: It is possible to wager online if you want to play lottery games. However, these are only possible if we are talking about Russian lotteries. You are not, for instance, allowed to wager on international lotteries via lottery betting sites in Russia. Naturally, this limits the available selection of lottery games that you can choose to play. As a result, many Russians do sign up to offshore betting sites to play major lotto games as well as casino games.
Live Dealer Casino Games: Again, these are outlawed, just like RNG (random number generator) based casino games. However, some live dealer games can be played in Russian, especially baccarat, blackjack and roulette. In most cases, these will be streamed out of neighbouring Estonia or Latvia.
Bingo Games: Bingo is popular in Russia. As there are no specific laws prohibiting bingo in Russia, it is not clear whether playing the game is legal or not. However, some Russian lotteries do permit bingo games. Consider bingo a grey zone, but one which leans more towards bingo being legal, than outlawed.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is legal in Russia. Betting on football and other sports is hugely popular in Russia. There are specific Russian gambling laws which relate to sports betting, and licenses are handed out to operators. Access to foreign sportsbooks is prohibited, though, so you can only legally use Russian websites.
Taxes on Big Wins at Russian Casinos
When you decide to bet at Russian casinos, you will face a tax. Officially, there is no tax on gambling activities per se. However, whatever you win will be subject to a 13% income tax. This is true of all forms of gambling (land-based or online), excluding lottery wins. This might sound harsh, but oddly enough, the Russian tax rate on a player’s winnings is markedly less than in many other countries.
Of course, things are considerably worse for operators. Russian sportsbook and lottery operators are hit with heavy taxes, and that deters too many of them from springing up. Russian cannot tax offshore betting sites and does not run any online casinos, so there is no casino tax for operators to pay. A rise in the tax rate in 2018 means that even if Russia decided to legalise online casino gaming (which it won’t), few operators could afford the taxes associated with running a casino site.
The Best Russian Online Casinos to Join Today
As mentioned, you have got no chance of being able to play at a Russian online casino. Instead, you are going to have to make do with playing at an offshore one. There are many international casinos which accept players in Russia. Wherever you decide to play, you should try and ensure that your chosen casino site fulfils as many of the following requirements as possible. This way, you can rest assured that you are playing at the best Russian online casinos today.
Russian Players are Accepted: There is no point in signing up at an offshore casino and taking the risks associated with it unless that casino is prepared to accept players from Russia. Always check this before signing up and attempting to play.
VPN Permitted: Russia puts some pretty effective blocks on offshore casinos. Because of this, you are going to need a VPN to get around them. Not all foreign casinos accept players who use VPNs. With that in mind, you are going to want to make sure that your chosen casino accepts this.
Licensed and Secure: Even though an online casino cannot obtain a Russian license, this does not mean that you should play at unlicensed casinos. Instead, we recommend that you choose to play at a site which holds a valid gambling license. Ideally, these will be licensed out of a reputable jurisdiction, such as Curacao or somewhere else in Europe.
Russian Options: Not all Russians can speak English, although we will assume since you are reading this article that you can. There are many top international casinos out there, and they all offer gameplay in English. However, some also go the extra mile and provide casino action in Russian, too. Many foreign casinos accept Russian cards and other payment methods, and the Russian rouble is commonly accepted at offshore casino domains. With so many sites providing these options, you shouldn’t really need to play anywhere which doesn’t offer them.
Provided that they have a good VPN to get around Russian blocks on foreign casino sites, Russians will find an ample supply of top international casinos to play at. The risks associated with betting online at foreign domains are minimal for Russian players. You can find many top offshore casinos to play which accept Russian players right here on this page. We would recommend playing at these Russian casinos, as they have all been checked and verified to ensure that they offer safe, secure and reliable online casino options to players based in Russia. In short, they are the best online casinos open to Russian players.