Russia to Clamp Down on VPNs Enabling Online Gambling

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Russia is going to crack down on virtual private networks (VPN) used by local bettors to access internationally licensed online gambling sites.

Alexander Zharov, the head of Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor, has announced plans last week to block access to nine VPN companies that refused to connect their operations to the government’s Federal State Information System.

In March, Roskomnadzor asked 10 VPN providers to connect to the FGIS. Russia-based Kaspersky Lab is the only one agreed to the FGIS order, while the other nine publicly stated their refusals. Zharov said the reluctant VPNs will have 30 days in which to connect to the FGIS or face their own blocking measures.

Russia is developing its own isolated internet known as Runet to enable even tighter control over its citizens’ access to forbidden online content. The government also plans new legislation to crack down on online video piracy sites, which increasingly rely on advertising revenue from online gambling operators.