The association between sports books and the world of high-stakes gambling has been on a steady rise ever since the introduction of UFA. In early 2021, UFA was introduced in Russia. It is a government sanctioned entity responsible for managing and implementing sports betting activities. Prior, to its launch the Russian government had expressed their intention to regulate and fully control the entire industry. This initiative came about after a wave of government sanctions and compliance requests were received from Russian-based sports book operators. As such, the association between sports books and gaming facilities in Russia has seen some changes that have been significant.
According to an industry report from mid 2021, the first noticeable change in Russian sports book regulation was the addition of UFA to its listing. UFA is controlled by the Russian government and acts in accordance with their wishes. The association between sports book and gambling facilities in Russia was in need of a regulating body to maintain the integrity of the sports book industry and protect Russian roulette players. UFA was created by a group of powerful entrepreneurs who wanted to create a central agency that would monitor and record all transactions going into and coming out of the industry. In their bid to gain control over the industry, the entrepreneurs who founded UFA promised radical reforms that included making all transactions transparent and eliminating the ability of any individual or institution to intervene in the bookmaking process. Although the promises of drastic changes never materialized, they did cause a stir within the Russian bookmaking community.
The most important part of the new law banning sports betting from being conducted online was the ban on sports books from operating online. The banning of online gambling was not planned for the industry but when the news broke many people assumed that this meant that all bookies were going to close down. Although this did not happen, there was a significant effect on the industry. Many of the most successful Russian sports books closed their operations and others which were already in the process of doing so were threatened with going out of business if they did not implement the measures. The association between the sports book and gambling industry in Russia was severely affected by the implementation of this law.
The main problem that faced the UFA was how the law could be implemented in a way that would not affect their clients who were now operating their businesses online. Many of the members of the association had set up their businesses online and did not wish to see their business affected by the actions of the entrepreneurs who created the association. They wanted to be able to run their business as usual and not have to deal with the UFA. This led to a series of meetings between members of the UFA and the Russian government to discuss how the law could affect online gaming.
There was hope that the ban on online gambling that had been implemented would be overturned due to pressure from the United States and European Union. The European Union and US governments exerted tremendous pressure on the Russian government over the issue, warning them that they would take the law into their own hands if the association were to continue. At first the ban on online gambling did not go into effect. However, the European Union eventually got its way and it was finally implemented in July of 2021. The ban on online gambling in Russia remains in force at this present time, although the authorities have been trying hard to make amendments to the law.
Since the ban came into force, many people have been forced to either close their businesses or transfer to other countries that do allow online gambling. The ones that chose to remain in Russia faced fines and heavy penalties. Some were forced to leave the country while others were only fined a small amount and left completely free to continue working. This is how the UFA affected the Russian online industry; however, this particular incident does not prove that all will be affected by the UFA in the future.