Bills see gambling tax increase two-fold, illegal transfers blocked

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law two bills regulating betting activities in Russia.

The first bill introduces a two-fold increase in gambling tax rates, while the second bill restricts money transfers to illegal bookmakers.

The first law sets the following tax rates countrywide: from RUB 50,000 (US$860) to 250,000 ($4,300) for a gaming table or a processing centre run by a tote or a bookmaker; from RUB 3,000 ($51) to 15,000 ($258) for a slot machine.

It also introduces a RUB 2.5 to 3 million tax on an online bet processing centre (TSUPIS). Currently, there are two TSUPISes operating in Russia, run by two rivaling self-regulating organisations of bookmakers.

The law also rules that bookmakers and totes should deduct taxes from wins to the tune of or exceeding RUB 15,000. Previously, gamblers were supposed to pay such taxes themselves.

Meawnhile, the Finance Ministry announced earlier this year that this increase is just a first step in bolstering taxes and that plans are to eventually boost them ten-fold.

The second law forbids banks and paying agents to process and transfer money to illegal bookmakers - both Russian and foreign - which will be put on a special government register.

Its text also enshrines the term of "online bet processing centre".

Both laws will come into force in early 2018.

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