Roskomnadzor Considers New Fine on Google over Gambling Search Results

Russia’s state telecommunications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, is taking action against U.S. tech giant Google for failing to exclude Russian-banned domains from search results, TASS news agency reports.

On Monday, the Roskomnadzor agency announced it had opened an administrative case against Google LLC over the western tech giant’s refusal to connect to the federal state information system (FGIS) and its list of “prohibited Internet resources.” The case will be considered at some point next month.

The watchdog recently threatened Google with an administrative penalty of $10,400 for failing to purge its search results of blacklisted domains, including many internationally licensed online gambling operators. Roskomnadzor routinely blacklists over 10k gambling domains each month, including another 3,500 in the seven days ending November 21.

Last week, Roskomnadzor reported that its deputy chief Vadim Subotin met with Google’s Doron Avni to air the watchdog’s grievances and to repeat its invitation for Google to join an “anti-piracy memorandum,” which Russia’s domestic media holdings and internet companies agreed to in early November.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service has also long complained about unauthorized Russian-language gambling operators promoting their wares via ads on Google’s YouTube video service.

Russia has so far licensed only a handful of domestic online sports betting sites, and any other site offering wagering or forbidden products such as poker or casino games is in violation of Russian law. Roskomnadzor receives three times as many public complaints about online gambling than any other illicit activity, including drug trafficking or child pornography.