GVC Holdings' online sports betting brand Bwin is pushing ahead with a mid-November launch in Russia, paving the way for other foreign brands to enter the market.
The platform, a partnership between GVC and Russian billionaire investor Alexander Mamut, has already gone live for preliminary registrations and is giving away a shared bonus pot of RUB100m (£1.31m/€1.47m) to all new sign-ups.
Mamut owns the company holding the licence, Digital Betting LLC, as well as online technology firm Rambler & Co.
Bwin is the first foreign operator to be handed a licence since the jurisdiction began regulating sports betting two years ago.
A spokesman for the new venture described it as a “highly competitive market” with around 10 major Russian bookmakers already operating, including Liga Stavok, Fonbet, and 1xstavka.
“Our entry into the Russian market is thought to be a pioneering movement – we are the first foreign brand to operate in the market ever – and will pave the way for the entrance of other major betting sites,” he added.
“We understand many players still bet offline due to there being plenty of betting shops. We did a lot of research to prepare for the launch and are ready to meet the expectations of those who believed and continue to believe in us.”
Mamut is reported to have pledged up to €10m ($11.2m/£8.6m) per year over the next three years to develop the Bwin.ru brand.
On top of providing a cash injection, Mamut’s news aggregation site Rambler & Co and online gambling affiliate Championat will be the primary drivers of traffic to the site, confirmed the spokesman.
The spokesman added that Rambler & Co alone had around 42 million active monthly users.