Disclosure: GoodLuckMate is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up to a casino via links on our site. Find out more.
Russia – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
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:
- Read through a few GoodLuckCasino reviews
- Ensure your chosen payment method is available
- Check if you can deposit with Russian roubles or Euros
- If required, check that the site is available in Russian
- Read all of the welcome bonus terms and conditions
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.