Russia’s regulated online sports betting market doubled in size this week with the launch of 888.ru. The company, which is based in Russia and has no relation to 888 Holdings, is now the second operator to take a chance on a market that features some very challenging circumstances.
888.ru is backed by Russian lottery operator Stoloto and is running the Betconstruct platform, according to CalvinAyre.com.
Stoloto’s sports betting product is Russia’s second regulated online bookmaker and joins Liga Stavok in the newly expanded market.
The company hasn’t explained why it chose a name that’s so incredibly similar to the well-known UK operator, but a couple explanations seem logical. In many countries, particularly those with large Asian populations, having the same number appear three times is considered a sign of good luck.
Of course it’s also possible that the company is taking advantage of Russia’s casual adherence to intellectual property laws to piggyback on 888 Holdings’ international reputation. This kind of thing isn’t entirely unheard of in the gaming industry.
Regardless of what the story is behind its name, 888.ru is diving into one of the most challenging regulatory environments in the world. The Russian government has been overhauling its gambling laws over the past couple of years and the rules they’ve crafted aren’t exactly operator-friendly.
Operators who violate Russian gambling regulations face massive that aren’t just based on, but are equivalent to, several years of the violator’s personal income.
On the players’ side, perspective punters have to jump through a challenging registration process that includes a personal identification verification via Skype.
Russia’s third regulated bookmaker is slated to launch later this summer.
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