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SBD Global/October 27, 2015/Media

Russia Considering Allowing Sports TV Channels To Take Bets On Matches

Russia is considering allowing sports TV channels to take bets on matches in a move that would become a game changer for the local betting industry. Russian news agency Interfax quoted Natalya Parshikova, deputy sports minister, as saying that "the issue of allowing organizations that own TV rights to sports events to take bets on their results" is being discussed. If the idea is adopted, new powerful players are to come to Russia's $2.4B-a-year betting industry, in which TV networks were never involved before. Industry insiders say that the arrival of new players like that would only benefit the industry, but getting set up for a bookmaking business wouldn't be easy for a TV network. "If a television network starts to take bets on sports events, it will only be good for the industry," Oleg Zhuravsky, president of the First Self-Regulatory of Russian Bookmakers and honorary president of the bookmaking company Liga stavok, told SBD Global. He added, "[But] to start a bookmaking operation in compliance with the existing regulations, a TV network will have to obtain a license, to join one of the self-regulatory organizations, to hire about 200 analysts and set up a business structure." Incidentally, the news about possibly allowing TV networks to run betting operations comes just days before a new sports channel, Match TV, run by Gazprom Media, is to go on the air. The free-to-air network, which is to replace Rossiya 2, is to become the country's largest sports TV channel. Gazprom Media did not respond to a request for comment.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.
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