Cointelegraph has reached Qiwi for comments and they assured us that all necessary actions have been taken to correct information on the website.
Roskomnadzor, Russian state authority that oversees all media in the country, has issued an official warning to block payment systems Qiwi along with Skrill for alleged provision of payment services for illegal online casinos. Services were given 3 days time period to comply with the order.
According to the official notice sent by the authority, Qiwi and Skrill websites provided information, distribution of which is forbidden in the country. As stated in the document, services advertised certain casino games and provided electronic payments for participation in gambling.
The authority ordered to erase information from all resources managed by Qiwi and Skrill, otherwise the access to some of their web pages will be restricted. Since both Qiwi and Skrill operate on https internet-protocols, it can result in blocking of the whole resources.
Will it affect the users?
The incident hasn’t affected users accumulations on their web wallets or payment transactions.
The company has assured Cointelegraph that all necessary actions were taken: Qiwi has corrected the information on the website following instructions given by the authority, and the website and the platform have been functioning without any interruptions.
Qiwi is one of the biggest payment services in the country and was always enthusiastic about fighting illegal betting providers. It was reportedly collaborating with Self Regulated Association of Betting Providers to create an online bet processing center.
“Payment services will have to choose partners wisely and avoid dealing with shady companies in any way. They certainly want to keep their reputation clear and are worried about the future of their businesses in Russia. The incident will seriously hit illegal betting providers as well.”
Nikolay Oganezov, Chairman of Self-Regulated Association of Betting Providers, commented:
“The claims over Qiwi’s provision of payment services to illegal online casinos are unfounded. Qiwi is a large company that will never put its reputation at risk. Moreover, they are interested in combatting illegal online casinos and betting providers.”
As for Skrill, Russia is not the first country to restrict operation of the payment service due to violation of legislation. For instance, Skrill is banned in the USA and a number of other countries for their cooperation with illegal betting providers.
National anti-gambling campaign
The incident with Qiwi and Skrill is a part of a huge campaign of combatting with illegal online-casinos and online betting providers which started in 2014.
According to Federal Tax Service, there are around 6000 of bet services, which are often registered outside Russia to avoid tax obligations.
In 2014 Russian state passed the law which bided all Runet betting providers to join the Self Regulated Association of Betting Providers aimed at coordination of betting market and ensuring complying of all activities with the state regulations. Only around 30 officially registered betting providers joined the SAB.
Soon after that another law was passed which required the Association to create a special register for online betting services. The initiative was believed to make online-bets market absolutely transparent for controlling and regulating authorities.
Illegal bet services were identified and blocked, resources advertising illegal bet services were fined.
Now it seems that regulations are getting tighter with authorities issuing warnings to block payment services if they are detected to include information about illegal betting providers.