Russian laws to do with gambling from within the country have changed dramatically over the last few decades, but aside from a few designated areas for land-based casinos, online gambling remains illegal as of 2006. This is still the case today and many sites are blacklisted by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) within the motherland. However, this does not mean it is impossible to gamble if you so desire, but we will be covering more on that and the risks involved throughout this article. We’ll also be showing where you go within the country to gamble in a perfectly legal fashion.
You won’t find any Russian online casinos (unless they are recklessly breaking the law), so the only option for people living in Russia is to find (at their own risk) an online casino with servers based in other countries. However, if you do manage to find one that isn’t blocked by the powers that be, you may still discover that the brand refuses to accept Russian players – therefore, it’s always worth double-checking with a member of the casino’s customer support team in advance. You can also find plenty of useful information in the GoodLuckMate casino reviews.
Some of the things covered in our expert reviews include details on the welcome bonus you can expect when signing up, the significant terms and conditions that apply to that bonus and/or any free spins, and the available payment methods. Regarding the latter, we would not recommend directly using your bank account or an associated debit or credit card because that could easily be traced back to you if the authorities suspect you of breaking the law. It’s better, in this case (again at your own risk) to use eMoney, eWallets or totally anonymous cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, for example. So, if you wish to proceed with signing up at an online casino, be sure to:
If you want to continue with the sign-up process, despite it being illegal in Russia, the welcome bonus banners on all GoodLuckMate casino reviews will guarantee you get the best deal.
As we said above, gambling online was strictly prohibited by the Russian government in 2006. Before that time, just before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, gambling flourished within the country, with more than 50 separate land-based casinos operating within Moscow alone. However, since 2006, things have been tightened up considerably, with casinos banned from all but four locations (there’s more on this below) from 2009, ISPs blocking certain sites in 2012, and finally the release of a blacklist for international online casinos beginning in 2014.
As a result of all of this, there is no regulatory body governing online gambling – everything instead falls directly under the control of the police and law courts. Land-based casinos also fall under direct local government control within four specified regions – see Casinos in Russia.
Seeing as Russia has around 150 million citizens living within the Russian Federation, you can be sure that some foreign online casinos see this as too big a market not to risk the legal fallout. Therefore, it is possible to find some online casinos that cater to Russian speakers (remember there are around 265 million of them in the world), some of which live in areas that do allow online casino gambling. So, you will not only find sites that have been written or else translated into Russian, but you can expect fluent customer support agents and Russian live dealers too.
Land-based casinos used to be in every major city within the country during the so-called golden age between the 1980s and early 2000s. This included Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, and Nizhny Novgorod, for example. However, since 2009, luxury casino resorts and other gambling establishments are only permitted in the following four areas: Altai Krai, Azov-City (except Krasnodar Krai and Rostov Oblast), Kaliningrad Oblast, and Primorsky Krai. Therefore, traveling to one of these areas is the only way to experience the thrills and spills of a real casino and to play slots, table games, etc, without breaking the law.
Of course, there are illegal casinos, sportsbook shops and other forms of gambling services dotted throughout the country, but these are absolutely not recommended. They often run as internet cafes and the like and are probably paying off local law enforcement. This is something you absolutely do not want to be involved with due to the extremely harsh prison sentences.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.