The Financial Times newspaper reported on a recent survey that revealed that UFA sportbooks are fast-growing online in Russia, with more than 20 percent of online bookmakers using the new online payment method for transactions. According to the report, ‘The rapid growth of UFA is partly driven by high rates of Internet penetration and partly by favorable policies of the government.’ The growing trend of online bookmaking in Russia has sparked off an economic growth that has reached all-time high in recent years. In fact, according to Russia’s Central Bank, direct involvement of the state in online sport betting can bring about another three trillion rubles (around $300 million) to the country by next year.
The increasing popularity of online gaming has resulted in the liberalization of practices in the sphere of online sports betting. The increasing number of individuals and establishments participating in the sport can be traced back to the introduction of the ‘Kontor’. The Kontor is a Russian governmental body that enables restricted free agents to register and run their own sports betting shops. However, a UFA license is required for such agencies and only a few of them can be registered by the government.
An article posted on the Central Banks Guide to Online Gambling notes that the recent relaxation of financial restrictions in Russia has led to the growth of ufa. The relaxation of financial laws in response to the global financial crisis in 2008 resulted in a decline in the number of transactions that were booked through banks and the number of people that utilized the services of financial intermediaries. According to the article, nearly one hundred and forty thousand people have availed of ufa over the past twelve months alone. The reasons behind the growth of ufa in Russia include the following:
According to an estimate by Russia’s Central Bank, more than one million persons had deposited money with banks in Russia in the past four years alone. The Central Bank’s figure corresponds to the entire registered foreign currency assets of approximately three million persons. This means that more than three million people have managed to convert one of their domestic properties into foreign currency and so got involved in ufa. Moreover, another one million persons are said to be looking forward to purchasing properties in Russia.
Another significant piece of information that can be noticed from the Central Banks Guide to Online Gambling states that the growth of ufa was also due to the fact that the law locating property investment was amended in late August 2009. The said law allows the government to register a person who is interested in gambling or who wants to take part in the development of gambling infrastructure in Russia. The new amendment also allowed the government to extend certain terms and conditions of registration to people who have already applied for registration. For example, a person who has already received a three-year term can apply for an additional three-year term if he wishes to apply for ufa, and a person who has already won a term may renew his contract for a further three years.
However, this extension does not mean that the person who has just got a three-year ufa term will not be allowed to get an additional three-year term. What the applicant needs to do is to request an extension of his contract. This way, he can continue to enjoy the benefits of his fans(r) for as long as he wants. The person who signs a one-year contract gets to enjoy all benefits of ufa for one year only, while the person who signs a three-year contract only gets to enjoy benefits for three years. The applicant can always check the status of his application at any time by calling the Central Bank of Russia.