Differences between legal and illegal bookmakers


Recently, more and more often from official sources one can hear that all illegal bookmakers are an absolute evil. That they are all over the place to deceive customers, steal deposits, do not pay winnings and block accounts under far-fetched pretexts. This explains the closure of access to their resources on the Russian Internet. But is it really so? Let's figure it out today.

What is this legality in general?

This term itself is applicable only to the territory of the Russian Federation. Literally a couple of hundred kilometers away, in Ukraine or Kazakhstan, the so-called illegal offices are quite legal. Many of them have been operating for decades and have very reputable international licenses - from Britain, Malta, Alderney, Gibraltar and so on.


Their illegality lies only in the fact that they operate outside the legal framework of the Russian Federation, and do not disburse taxes to the Russian budget. Otherwise, these are the same bookmakers. By the way, many of them will be more reliable and more authoritative than individual "legalists".


In general, even a few years ago there was no such thing as “BC legality”. These conversations began in 2012, and it was only in 2017 that they more or less settled in the basic definitions. Before that, everything was installed in well-known offices - “Marathon”, “Fonbet”, “Betcity”, “Olympus” - they exist perfectly and now at their old addresses on the Internet, they are only blocked by Roskomnadzor. And their new, legal versions work on a similar site in the ru domain zone.


In general, “legal” is not equal to “reliable”. There are many respected bookmakers with a long history that are illegal in Russia. For example, the British companies Bet365 (com) and William Hill, professional bookmakers Pinnacle and SBObet, the world's largest betting exchange Betfair. And there are also legal offices that are very far from the status of a "reliable bookmaker".


What is the difference between legal and illegal bookmakers?

The main difference is in taxes. Russian legalists buy a license from the Federal Tax Service, pay taxes to the budget, sponsor Russian sports, and sometimes compensate 13% of personal income tax in favor of the state for their players. But not all bookmakers do this, and in many bookmakers the player pays the personal income tax for himself. There is no tax in offshore offices.

Another difference is the absence of a lot of gambling entertainment prohibited in Russia on the sites of legal bookmakers. You will not find here casino games, roulette, video poker, various lotto, lotteries, sweepstakes, slots and other games. Offshore sites have it all.

The third difference is in access to resources. Illegal sites in Russia are blocked by the RKN, and they have to look for alternative access through mirrors, VPNs, proxies and other technical means. Also, a separate difficulty exists with the deposit and withdrawal of funds from Russian payment methods to illegal resources. With legalists in this regard, everything is much simpler.

Legal bookmakers conduct all customer payments through the ETSUPS to account for the tax base. As such, they have a very limited choice of payment methods. Legalists accept registrations only from Russia, and only the Russian ruble is used as the account currency. You can register with offshore bookmakers from most countries, they have a large selection of account currencies and payment methods.

In a legal bookmaker, the law establishes full identification of the client's identity. Without it, you won't even be able to make a deposit to your account. With illegal immigrants, you can go through a simplified identification, and often - generally play for months and years completely anonymously.

And the sixth difference.In legal offices, the state acts as a guarantor in the relationship between the bookmaker and the player. In case of misunderstandings, the player can file a complaint against the bookmaker with the regulatory authorities - ERAI, FTS, Rospotrebnadzor, the police or even the court - and achieve a fair decision.

But this is only in theory, in practice it is far from being so smooth. Bookmaker ratings on the Internet are inundated with complaints from players about legal bookmakers. There you can find a full set - and non-payment of bonuses, and quick cutting of limits, and unreasonable blocking of accounts, and calculation of winnings by refunds, and banal theft of funds from an account using fake bets.

However, in the case of illegal bookmakers still more complicated, and you can only contact the support service of the bookmaker's licensor or international organizations for the protection of bettors' rights.

So can illegal bookmakers be trusted?

Of course, not everyone. There are many fake bookmakers out there that don't have any license at all. They just open a site, collect deposits and disappear to appear under a new name in a couple of months.

Another category is small offices designed for recreational players. They will be honest with you while you are losing. But as soon as you show even the slightest profitability, they will get rid of you instantly. They will start calculating winnings in refunds, cut the maximum bet limits or simply block the account. However, among the Russian “legal” there are also enough such offices.

But, as mentioned above, there is a fairly wide layer of reputable world bookmakers who work much longer and more successfully than many newly-made legal bookmakers.

Among them:

  1. Professional bookmakers Pinnacle and SBO;
  2. Other large Asian bookmakers, for example, Dafabet or 188bet;
  3. Just the world's largest bookmakers Bet365, William Hill, Unibet, Bet-at-home, Bovada, etc.;
  4. Clones of large Russian bookmakers - “Marathonbet”, “Parimatch”, “Olympus”, Winline;
  5. Betting exchanges - Betfair, Betdaq, Matchbook.

And there are many more trustworthy brands that are much closer to the image of a reliable bookmaker than conventional “Mostbets”, “Betteri” or “Zenitbets”, which have a legal status in Russia.

How do you know that an offshore bookmaker can be trusted?

First of all, he must have at least some kind of international license. Ideally, prestigious (Britain, Malta, Alderney), but many bookmakers choose a more budgetary option and receive a license from Curacao, Gibraltar or Costa Rica. That does not prevent them from successfully and honestly working for years.

Information about the license can be found on the bookmaker's website, as a rule, it is displayed in a prominent place. It is also worth checking that this was not a fake, but a real license registered in the register of the licensor. Many bookmakers cooperate with international betting organizations - IBAS, EGBA, SBR, Gamcare, and place their logos on their websites. And this is also a very good sign.

A normal bookmaker should have a good set of popular payment methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Such reputable world systems as Visa, Mastercard, G-pay, Apple Pay, Webmoney, Neteller will not tarnish their reputation by cooperating with openly fraudulent projects without a license.

The age of the bookmaker is the second factor that should be taken into account. You can trust a bookmaker that has been working for at least 2-3 years (the more, the better). One-day flies do not live long, and they constantly change their addresses and names. Speaking of names, fake bookmakers often call themselves very similar to well-known global brands. For example, Marathonset, 1Melbet, SBObets, Mega365, etc.

Reviews are the third and most important parameter. Each bookmaker that has worked on the market for at least a year accumulates a lot of reviews from real customers. They can be used to understand the attitude of the bookmaker to its customers, assess possible risks and problems. You can find reviews on the Internet, on specialized resources leading bookmaker ratings.

It is necessary to take into account not so much the presence of negative reviews as their ratio to positive ones. Everyone has shoals, but if there are several positive ones for one negative review, this is a good sign. It is also useful to analyze what exactly bookmaker clients most often complain about - with a high probability you will expect similar problems there.

By the way, the last point also applies to legal bookmakers. Be sure to read the reviews about them on Russian betting resources - the portal "Rating of Bookmakers", Legalbet, "Bet TV" before you decide to play there.


In general, there is no reason to be afraid of the so-called illegal bookmakers. Many of them can be trusted and played there for years without any problems. It is not scary to add several million rubles to such monsters of the industry as Pinnacle, unlike most Russian bookmakers. a single country. Illegal in Russia is not synonymous with fraud, dishonesty or unreliability. As well as vice versa.

In addition, many illegal bookmakers are able to offer much wider functionality - stock betting, sweepstakes, virtual sports, casino games, slots and other gambling entertainment.

As for taxes, if you really want to, you can pay them and play on foreign bookmaker sites. Just indicate the income from your betting activity in the annual tax return, and they will not forget to withhold personal income tax from you.