Bwin pulls out of Russia after rule changes

Bookmaker Bwin has announced the end of its operations in Russia amid the changing legislation, according to a letter sent out to its local clients.

Bwin noted that it has entered into an agreement with another bookmaker Parimatch to “make leaving the Russian market as comfortable as possible for all customers.” Bwin customers will be able to switch to the Parimatch platform and keep their funds.

Changes made to the law on the regulation of bookmakers came into force in September 2020. Prior to the amendments to the legislation, bookmakers transferred 5 percent of their income to sports federations each quarter as targeted payments for the development of professional and youth sports. In accordance with the law, this amount could not exceed 15 million rubles (205,000 dollars at the current exchange rate). 

After the amendments were made, bookmakers were obliged to make targeted deductions not only for bets on Russian events, but also on international ones. In addition, after the amendments were made, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the proposal of Finance Minister Anton Siluanov to at least double the targeted allocations from bookmakers.

Representatives of bookmakers then noted that such decisions could lead to a decrease in the amount of sponsorship contracts that they conclude with clubs and leagues. Bookmakers also warned that an increase in the financial burden could push companies into the shadows.

Bwin.ru has been a joint venture of UK-listed gambling operator GVC Holdings (now Entain) and Russian-licensed bookmaker Digital Betting LLC since 2017, but Russian tycoon Alexander Mamut involved in the deal was not actively helping the company with marketing as expected, it was reported, so in 2019 it occupied just 0.25 percent of the bookmaking market.