Ladbrokes Latest Online Gambling Operator To Leave Russia

Ladbrokes Latest Online Gambling Operator To Leave RussiaFollowing the lead of other big online gambling operators such as Betfair, Unibet, and BetClic-Everest, the UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has now become the latest company to exit the vast Russian market. Ladbrokes decision is directly related to recent changes to EU and UK law requiring any operator applying for a UK license to stay away from countries where online gambling is illegal, and to limit their involvement in ‘grey market’ areas to just 3% of their total annual revenues.
In addition to Russia, Ladbrokes announced it was also withdrawing from Finland, Romania and Portugal, following a trend which last year saw it exit Canada and a number of European markets, including Hungary, Norway and Switzerland. Explaining the rationale behind its decision, a Ladbrokes spokesperson told iGamingBusiness:
“We continually review our presence in markets according to legal advice and regulatory conditions. This is an ongoing process and the markets we have withdrawn from are not material.”
While that may be true for some of the other countries mentioned, exiting Russia still represents an opportunity lost by Ladbrokes to market its product in a huge country of 143 million people. Nevertheless, the recent turmoil experienced by the Russian economy as its currency the rouble crashes may have helped Ladbrokes expedite its decision. Furthermore, President Putin has been pursuing a more proactive anti-gambling stance of late, at the end of last year having introduced Bill 478806-6 criminalizing online gambling outside its designated gambling zones. Therefore as far as Ladbrokes is concerned the writing was probably already on the wall.
Finally, while losing Russia will represent a blow to many major online poker companies, being forced to exit more important “grey markets” such as China, Canada, Australia, India, and Brazil would impact these iPoker site’s bottom lines more dramatically.

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