Russian online bookmaker Fonbet boasted over 91m website visitors in 2018, narrowly edging out rival 1xBet for Russia’s online sports betting traffic crown.
SimilarWeb data compiled by Betting Business Russia shows Fonbet’s Russian-licensed Fonbet.ru domain enjoyed 91.32m visits in 2018, a monthly average of 7.6m. Fonbet’s monthly traffic peaked at 10.1m visits in July as the 2018 FIFA World Cup reached its climax.
Fonbet’s success at driving traffic may have had to do with the fact that the site was Russia’s top-spending television advertiser during the World Cup, accounting for 18% of all advertising placements and 8% of overall ad minutes.
1xBet wasn’t among Russia’s top advertisers but the bookmaker’s Russian-licensed 1xstavka.ru domain ranked second on 2018’s traffic chart with 86.3m visit, a monthly average of 7.2m. 1xBet’s monthly traffic peaked in October at 9.7m visits.
From there the drop-off in online bookmaker traffic is steep. LigaStavok.ru ranked third with 38.9m visits for a monthly average of 3.24m. Winline.ru reported 33m visits and a monthly average of 2.75m. Betcity.ru closed out the top-five with 30.15m visits and a monthly average of 2.5m.
Only four other Russian bookmakers reported a monthly average over 1m, led by Parimatch.ru (1.59m), Baltbet.ru (1.3m), Mostbet.ru (1.21m) and Leon.ru (1.2m). Bwin.ru, the joint venture involving GVC Holdings and its local partner, ranked 12th (out of 16) with a monthly average of 370k visits.
The World Cup months of June (35.8m) and July (37m) were the biggest months for Russia’s overall online betting traffic, but October’s tally (35.5m) was only slightly behind the leaders, likely due to the start of another hockey season.
Meanwhile, Russia’s ever-vigilant telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has started off 2019 on the same ban-happy note it ended 2018. After blocking over 130k unauthorized online gambling domains last year, the watchdog blocked nearly 12,500 domains in January, putting the 2019 total on pace for a new record.
It’s worth noting that Russians celebrate Christmas in January, which likely made for some truly disgruntled Roskomnadzor techies who were forced to go on playing this pointless game of domain whack-a-mole while everyone else was getting legless on vodka.
It’s also worth noting that Fonbet-affiliated domains accounted for 1,335 of January’s blacklisted domains. The sites are from Fonbet’s operations based outside Russia, which offer myriad products not permitted by Russian authorities, such as casino and poker.