Russia’s Mail.ru Group makes gambling available for the whole world
Mail.ru Group’s first ever commercial offerings for international consumption – Jungle Heat and Poker Arena, where chips are bought with real money – are now available at Google Play and App Store.
The announcement has been met with a mixed response, while the app does not allow users to convert chips already paid for back into real money.
If such a function is not added, the company will violate Russian gambling laws, according to Sergei Kopylov, head of the legal department at the Coordination Center for TLD RU. Mail.ru has yet to explain why it feels the need to take such a risk.
Under Russian law that became effective since 1 July 2009, casino gambling in the country is restricted to 4 specially designated gambling zones - "Azov City" in Krasnodar region, "Amber" in the Kaliningrad region, "Siberian Coin" in Altay region and Primorye in the Maritime Territory, where a number of casinos are set to be built jointly with investors from Macau (China).
According to Leonid Delitsyn, an analyst at Finam – one of Russia’s largest investment firms, developing games and applications for mobile devices may be a promising avenue for Mail.ru Group to explore in terms of international expansion.
"We’ve entered the smartphone era. There’s a whole new audience that is not tied to any service in particular to be tapped," Delitsyn explains. It’s difficult to become a global leader in mail or social networking services these days.
Mail.ru Group announced its intention to enter the global market back in autumn 2012. The My.com brand was created for this specific purpose.
Last summer, it was revealed that the company would put its stake on mail and cloud solutions – as reported earlier by RBTH – as well as on games.