Last week, Roskomnadzor, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, went on a banning spree. They blocked over 1,800 casino sites, including some Bitcoin casinos.
This data was unveiled by a gambling magazine called Betting Business Russia (BBR). According to their report, the Russian agency blocked all of these gambling sites in a period spanning over just one week (from April 8th to 14th).
It’s no secret that Russia is strict with their online gambling operators, but what could cause such massive banning spree?
Well, as it turns out, the agency didn’t ban legitimate sites. Instead, they “cleaned” the internet of fraudulent mirror casinos. The so-called “mirror” casinos use content from other legitimate websites, and literally copy/paste it on their platform.
The most “popular” copies
The most mirrored website was Russia’s fan-favorite sportsbook, Fonbet; a total of 298 domains copied the content of this betting platform. On the other hand, the most copied cryptocurrency operator was 1xBit, registering 53 copies. Additionally, another 172 sites received a ban without even offering gambling services. However, they had gambling-related content, manly articles and guides about casinos, betting platforms, and so on.
As we said before, Russia holds a firm grip on their online gambling industry. But no one expected such high number of fake gambling sites. Unlike most countries across Europe, Russia only allows land-based casinos in four regions (Kaliningrad Region, Primorsky Region, Altai, and Krasnodar). This is a similar system like in the US, where cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City can offer gambling.
But it seems that online gambling is a little bit harder to control.