The Deputy director of the Russian telecommunications surveillance agency Roskomnadzor, Vadim Subbotin, announced last week through the Interfax news agency that approximately 1.4 million pirated video game links had been removed, after the operation launched by the government together with the owners of copyright and Russian telecommunications companies.
While the agreement between the three sectors ended on October 31, the Russian government announced in November that it will present a law to make this joint collaboration permanent. However, this initiative could harm the local online operator 1xBet, as the brand has earned the pirate label.
Although 1xBet.ru has a local operating license, its foreign counterparts are listed in Russia as the largest online video advertisers. At present they have 1,797 different domains included in the Roskomnadzor blacklist. The 1xbet.com logo appears on the screen of pirated videos to prevent the customers’ message from being lost, which has made the brand more noticeable.
SimilarWeb data published by Betting Business Russia last week showed that actions taken against piracy could be stealing part of its promotional mojo from 1xBet. The Russian licensee received around 3 million visits in October, placing it in the sixth place of sites with more traffic in the country, after having occupied the first place in the previous months with more than 10 million visits per month.
October was no exception in terms of traffic, according to SimilarWeb data published in November by LegalBet. The Russian 1xBet site had a traffic decrease close to 70% year-on-year. Although other legal operators also saw their traffic fall, none of them was as drastic as 1xBet.
It is believed that the fall in traffic has to do with the fine to the Yandex search engine imposed by the Federal Antitrust Service (FAS) of Russia. The Russian giant was fined RUB100k (US $ 1,420), for returning search results that included direct links to 1xBet and Leon, another local bookmaker, in open violation of Russian advertising rules, which expressly prohibit promoting games of online betting.
In addition, in October and November, Bwin.ru, the joint venture of GVC Holdings and Digital Betting LLC, its local partner, barely received about 200,000 monthly visits. This helped to increase the rumors that the Russian partner might be thinking about stopping the site’s activity due to its poor performance.