Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
9 minute read

Russia Sports Betting


Russian Sports Betting
Status:Legal & Licensed
B&M Availability:Lawful
Online Availability:Complicated
Minimum Age:18+

Russian sports betting has a long history with many legal changes. The Russian Federation’s community of sports betting enthusiasts love to gamble on sport, though bettors face increasing taxation in land-based sportsbooks. In the online sports betting market, Russian gamblers find it harder to locate reputable Internet sportsbooks.

This guide to Russian sports betting offers a complete analysis of Russian gaming laws, both for online and land-based sportsbooks. Reading this article, you’ll learn about the history of sports betting in the Russian Federation, along with the rapidly evolving legality of sports betting in Russia. I’ll provide resources for researching the best sportsbooks that accept Russian bettors, while also recommending a few online sportsbooks you should consider.

Russian Sports Betting Legality

Russian sports betting was legalized in the last days of the Soviet Union. Individual Russian states had the right to license sportsbooks until 2002, when the Federal Sports Agency (FSA) was created. For about $100 apiece, the FSA licensed bookmakers. Things began to change with Federal Law N 244-FZ, a Russian Federation law passed in 2006, which banned casinos in the main population centers and banished them to 4 outlying areas of Russia’s vast territory. Many land-based sportsbooks operate inside Russia. For instance, First International Bookmaker Company, better known as Liga Stavok, partnered with Sportingbet in 2010. Liga Stavok boasts 1 million Russian sports bettors, though Sportingbet later was banned from operating in Russia.

Russian online sports betting legality is determined by the Russian media and telecommunications ministry’s blacklist against the world’s most popular bookmakers. At the same time, the Russian Federation allows operators with ties to the Russian government to launch gaming sites. For instance, Stoloto, the second-largest state-sanctioned lottery in Russia, launched an online sportsbook in 2016 under the name 888.ru, clearly trying to convince gamblers Stoloto’s site was the trusted international sportsbook, 888 Sport. Russian online sports betting legality is determined by Roskomnadzor, so let us take a look at that agency, which was formed in 2008.

Roskomnadzor Online Gambling Blacklist

Roskomnadzor, the Russian agency which regulates media and telecommunications, maintains a blacklist of banned gambling sites. Some of the prominent online sportsbooks banned by Roskomnadzor include William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betway, Sportingbet, Betfair. Many online poker sites have been banned, including PokerStars, Carbon Poker, Russian PartyPoker.net, 888poker, bwin.party, Titan Poker, Winner.com, Unibet, Everest Poker, Pinnacle Sports, JackpotCity, and Marathon Bet.

Roskomnadzor has banned over 4000 online gambling sites in all, including domestic operators and international sites. Russian online gambling sites banned include Liga Stavok, FONbet, 1xbet, Favbet, TrioBet, and Vulkan-Bet. Some international sports betting operators have entered the Russian online market lately, as GVC Holdings partnered with Alexander Mamut’s Digital Betting to launch an online sportsbook. The blacklist appears to be protectionist for Russian businesses, more than it is a ban based on ethical grounds.

Safety of Online Sports Betting in Russia

good-bettingOnline sports betting in the Russian Federation is complicated by the blacklist, which affects many of the safest and most trustworthy sportsbooks. It is safe to bet on sports online in Russia, but only if you choose the most reputable bookmakers which are not banned at present. When considering the safety and security of your online sports betting transactions, it is best to use bitcoin deposits and withdrawals when possible, because it offers a high level of security and privacy.

Russian sports bettors should keep in mind that Russian authorities target gaming operators and the businesses which support their operations, but not individual players.

Best Russian Betting Sites

The best Russian betting sites are those which handle payments in rubles and support the Russian language. Because so many online sportsbooks are banned in Russia, not many trusted sites meet that criteria. One of the sites we recommend offers Russian-language support, while another is a trusted international online sportsbook. The most important factors are whether online sportsbooks which accept Russians are trusted, reputable, safe, and private. The sites described below meet those standards the best.

Top Ranked Russian Betting Site – Sportsbetting.ag

  • Accepts all major credit cards
  • Accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin other cryptos
  • Large assortment of sports betting markets
  • Competitive odds for betting on many sports
  • European football specific bonuses offered for the Cup

Why Is Sportsbook.ag The Best?

The 50% up to $1000 Welcome Bonus is hard to pass up and the payout times are fast. Sportsbetting is the top betting site in the industry and easily the most professional. They offer competitive odds in all sports and tons of soccer markets, from propositions to live betting on many sports. You can also earn a special 50% Bonus on your crypto deposit all the way up to $500.

Great For Betting On International Sports – Betonline Sportsbook

  • Accepts all major cryptocurrencies
  • Accepts all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard)
  • Posts sports betting odds earlier than others
  • Large cash or crypto deposit bonus and endless reloads
  • Large bet on point spreads plus other popular sports bets

Why Bet At BetOnline?

New players receiving a massive Welcome Bonus of 50% up to $1000 on their first deposit which makes BetOnline’s rise to one of the top sportsbooks online. It has a long history in the industry but has truly come on in the past few years to be a leader in online sports betting. If you have never made a deposit with cryptos  use promo code CRYPTOBET with your deposit to earn 50% bonus.

Catering to Russian Sports Bettors

Russian sports bettors have access to bookmaker sites which cater to the Russian language and transactions in rubles, but they exist in a gray market that non-Russian know little about. We recommend Russian sports bettors play at the international online sportsbooks which are regulated outside the Russian Federation.

You’ll find a surprising number of bookmakers catering to Russian sports bettors because of Roskomnadzor bans more online casinos and poker sites than it bans sportsbooks. When searching for Russian sportsbooks, focus on the safety, security, and reliability of the site over welcome bonuses and other promotional offers. The number of Russo-centric sports markets is also important because every sportsbook does not offer bets on bandy, biathlon, volleyball, and chess.

Online Sports Betting in Russia

A breakdown of what it’s like to bet online sports in Russia

Top Russian Sports to Bet On

  • hockey-betting
  • basketball betting
  • socceer-betting


  • US dollar
  • euro
  • US dollar
  • btc-currency


  • russian betting

These options may not be available at all sportsbooks but represent typical experiences.

Russian Deposits and Withdrawals

Most international online sportsbooks which accept Russian players support deposits and withdrawals in US dollars or Euros, but not the Ruble (RON). With that said, the US dollar and Euro deposit and withdrawal limits are similar in size. I’ll use Euros in the space below. International travelers should remember that Russian brick-and-mortar vendors do not accept payments in anything but rubles. Anyone exchanging Euros or US dollars in Russia should use ATMs or banks, because airport exchanges have bad rates.

Russian Deposit Options You Can Use

Credit Card: Visa and MasterCard are the two largest credit card networks in the western world. Visa and MasterCard have free, instant deposits with a minimum limit of €5 and the maximum limit of €40,000.
Debit Card: Visa Debit, Visa Electron, and MasterCard debit deposits are free and instantaneous. The minimum and maximum deposit limits for this method are €5 and €40,000.
Qiwi: Though this eWallet sounds like it might be New Zealand-based, it is a Russian web wallet. Qiwi supports free, instant deposits between €5 and €300.
PaySafeCard: The PaySafeCard eWallet, formerly known as Ukash, is a free and instant deposit method with payments between €5 and €1000.
Skrill: Skrill, formerly known as Moneybookers, is web Wallet which offers free and instant deposits. The minimum deposit is €5 and the max deposit is €35,000.
Skrill 1-Tap: Skrill One-Tap is an option for mobile customers who use Skrill. These free transactions have a minimum deposit limit of €5 and a max deposit of €10,000.
Neteller: The Neteller eWallet’s deposits are free and instant, with slightly higher deposit limits between €15 and €37,500.
Entropay: The Entropay virtual prepaid card support free, instant deposits. Its limits range between €10 and €40,000.
AstroPay: The Astropay virtual prepaid card has free, instant deposits for payments between €10 and €500.
Bank Wire: Bank wire transfers which are free deposits, but they require a 2 to 10-business day waiting period. The deposit limits are €200 and €150,000, so this is a favorite of high rollers.
Check/Cheque: Bank check is a free payment method for deposits between €150 and €70,000. This method takes 5 to 28 banking days, so choose it only if you need to deposits lots of money and don’t mind a wait.

Russian Withdrawal Options You Can Use

Credit Card: Visa and MasterCard credit cards allow free withdrawals. The minimum withdrawal is €5 and a maximum withdrawal €30,000. These take 1 to 5 banking days to complete.
Debit Card: Visa Debit and Maestro debit card withdrawals are free, but these transactions take 1 to 5 business days to complete. The minimum payout using debit is €5, while the maximum withdrawal $30,000.
Skrill: The Skrill eWallet offers free withdrawals and have a minimum cashout of €5 and a max withdrawal of €35,000. Skrill payments arrive to you within 24 hours.
Neteller: Neteller provides free withdrawals, with slightly higher cashout limits between €15 and €37,500. Neteller withdrawals arrive within 12 hours.
Entropay: TThis virtual prepaid card provides free withdrawals between €10 and $40,000. Entropay withdrawals arrive in your account within 24 hours.
PaySafeCard: The PaySafeCard web wallet offers free withdrawals between €10 and €2000. PaySafeCard withdrawals arrive in your account within 24 hours.
Bank Wire: Electronic bank transfers take 2 to 10 banking days to reach your bank account. Bank wire transfer withdrawal limits range between €40 and €50,000, so many high rollers prefer this method. Bettors receive 1 free bank wire withdrawal per month, but they cost €6 apiece for additional withdrawals.
Check/Cheque: The bank check arrives via a courier or snail mail. Receiving a written check is a free withdrawal method for transactions between €150 and €70,000. This method takes 5 to 28 business days to arrive to your home.

Russian Gambling History

Russians have had an ambivalent attitude towards gambling for centuries. As early as the 14th Century and 15th Century, the Russian Orthodox Church called for bans on gambling, implying it was widespread and popular. By the 17th Century, Russian inns, taverns, and marketplaces were famous for hosting underground gambling, despite tsarist attempts to ban games. Alexander II (reigned 1855-1881), who is famous for liberating the serfs, made gambling legal in Tsarist Russia, though his reactionary successor Alexander III (1881-1894) was more repressive. In the reign of Alexander II and that of Nicholas II (1894-1971), Russian casinos became famous throughout Europe, especially in the Crimea, where vacation resorts sprung up along the Black Sea coast. The great Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, was known for his gambling habits. To pay off gambling debts his incurred in Baden, Germany, Dostoyevsky wrote a semi-autobiographical novel in one month’s time (“The Player”).

Even in the first years of the Soviet Union, the Bolsheviks allowed gambling to continue. Once Stalin seized total control of the Soviet Union with the removal of Trotsky and Zinoviev from power in 1927, the People’s Commissar of the Interior banned all gambling in Russia. On August 23, 1989, the Soviet Union lifted its 62-year ban on gambling, with the first casino opening in Moscow shortly after and the Savoy Hotel in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In the early 90s, poker became popular in the Soviet Union, as Russians became interested in western pop culture. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the permissive attitude towards gambling continued, with as many as 58 casinos, perhaps 2,000 smaller gambling dens, and an estimated 70,000 slot machines located in Moscow.

A law passed by Vladimir Putin in 2006 stated all Moscow casinos would be closed by July 2009, with special administrative zones in Primorye (Far East), Altai (Siberia), Krasnodar (Azov City and Sochi), and Kaliningrad. To make way for a huge resort in Putin’s favored city of Sochi, the Russian Federation banned casinos in the Crimea after its annexation in 2014. Online gambling has faced a blacklist administered by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (usually called “Roskomnadzor”). This include many legitimate international online sportsbooks, casinos, and poker sites. Russian ISPs are required to block sites on the blacklist. Despite that, some online bookmakers are allowed access to Russian sports bettors. In 2017, the Russian Ministry of Finance also imposed a large tax on online betting processing centers (TSUPIS) which serve domestic and international online sportsbooks, but sites are allowed to sign-up Russian gamblers.

Russian Gambling Resources

Russian online sports bettors do not have a lot of reliable official resources for gambling research. The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, better known as Roskomnadzor, is the Russian Federation’s federal agency for overseeing media and telecommunications. Roskomnadzor is the agency which produced the Internet gambling blacklist, which is continually updated and expanded.

Roskomnadzor FacebookRoskomnadzor’s official website appears to be blocked from IPs outside Russia, which says a lot about the organization’s accessibility and transparency. The Russian telecommunications regulator does have a Facebook presence in which its spreads information, so here is a link to Roskomnadzor’s Facebook page.
Roskomnadzor TwitterRoskomnadzor also has a Twitter feed, so those who wish to see what Russia’s online sportsbook regulator has to say can visit Roskomnadzor’s Twitter page.
Russian Ministry of Sport“Minsport” has overseen physical fitness and sports among the Russian population, as well as anti-doping measures among Russian athletes. At one time, the FSA licensed land-based sportsbooks in Russia for $100 per license, but many of its regulatory functions have given way to Roskomnadzor over the years.

About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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