MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) – Major Russian bookmaker F.O.N. is facing charges of organizing illegal online gambling, Moscow prosecutors said Monday.
Authorities believe that although the bookmaker’s website was run from the Netherlands and licensed by Dutch authorities, it mainly targeted a Russian audience.
“This website, accessible to every Internet user, provided an opportunity to engage in games of chance for real money and offered various bets, including on sporting events,” prosecutors said in a statement.
The website made a profit of about 62 million rubles ($1.7 million) just in June and July last year.
The company’s central office in Moscow was searched at the time, the Kommersant newspaper reported.
F.O.N., registered in Russia in 1994, is one of the country’s biggest bookmakers, with nearly 900 offices across Russia.
Under a law that came into force on July 1, 2009, casinos and other gaming establishments can operate only in remote, specifically designated gambling zones across Russia.
Despite the ban, illegal casinos and slot machine rooms disguised as Internet and lottery clubs continue to thrive.