As part of 2017’s earnings reports, renowned gambling operator Stars Group pointed out that the Russian gambling market would be a potentially troublesome one in 2018. The earnings report also included what the online gambling operator is expecting to make this year with the figures further including assumptions that Russia would be introducing and implementing new online gambling rules that will essentially make it harder to process payments for Russian players.
There has been no official explanation from Russian officials in regards to the implementation of the new law that is likely to be enforced as from May 25. However, it is expected that the regulations will restrict banks from partnering with foreign payment processors or gambling operators that have been blacklisted by the Russian government.
While the new atmosphere will certainly not kill the Russian online gambling market, it undoubtedly has the potential of clamping down on the size of the gambling industry in the country. This is we put into consideration a similar scenario in the United States where the online gambling industry was clamped down after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed back in 2006. In the likely case that this occurs, the Stars Group will take quite a hit especially because the Russian online gambling market accounts for a huge chunk of its global market.
Stars Group Working on Contingencies
The effects of the changes that the Russian government is going to make is off-putting for investors but Stars Group is not giving up so easily. Rafi Ashkenazi, the Stars Group CEO said that he and his team are already working on contingencies that will help the company to deal with anything that the Russian government throws at them.
“We have plan As and plan Bs and plan Cs for every type of scenario that may happen in the market,” Ashkenazi told analysts. “We are monitoring, we are assessing, and we are ready.”
The concerns that were raised about the Russian gambling market were shared as part of an overall earnings reports which showed a steady 2017 for Stars Group – this encompassed both PokerStars as well as the group’s other online gambling sites. Total annual revenue went up 13.6 percent for fiscal 2017, summing up to over $1.3 billion. The same goes for other earnings as well – the net earnings rose by over 25 percent within the same period.