Roskomnadzor confirmed that when compared to the same period in 2017, the number of complaints had increased by over 5,000, which is a new record for Q3.
However, it pales in comparison to the results from Q1, which saw a staggering 86,329 complaints directly related to illegal online gambling. In fact, so far in 2018, Roskomnadzor has been inundated with more than 210,000 complaints that are directly gambling-related.
What is perhaps most surprising about this announcement from Roskomnadzor is that complaints directly related to online gambling surpassed the number of complaints about illegal sites around drugs or pornography.
However, in a way this makes sense. People are far more likely to inadvertently come across gambling websites that are illegitimate, especially when considering that it is often difficult to ascertain the legitimacy of a gambling site simply by looking at it.
Also, many people may be reluctant to admit that they have seen websites that focus on drugs or illegal pornography, and so will be far less likely to submit a complaint.
Tackling The Problem
The issue with illegal online gambling is something that Russian authorities are taking incredibly seriously. Roskomnadzor has announced that it is working on, and will soon deploy, a range of filtering tools designed specifically to stop citizens from being able to access illegal gambling sites.
In an unusually self-deprecating press conference, Alexander Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor, stated that his organisation has, for a long period of time, been fighting something of a losing battle. He claimed that the criminals were always one step ahead, and that the watchdog was able to do very little other than ‘run from behind with a flyswatter’.
And, all of this comes despite the fact that Roskomnadzor was able to successfully block 14,500 unauthorized gambling sites in August of this year alone. That’s a whopping 467 every day. The authority also recently announced that it has blocked over 76,000 such sites in 2018, but admits that the problem is still a colossal one.
A Russian Priority
You really can’t fault the Russians for their attitude when it comes to tackling a single issue. When they set their collective minds to something, it tends to reap rewards.
The latest plan to halt illegal online gambling is to work closely with banks. On the back of a bill signed by Vladimir Putin, the state-owned Sberbank has declared that it is now in a position to decline transactions that would benefit illegal gambling sites located outside Russia.
It is likely that this approach will be taken up by more Russian banks in the very near future.