Armen Sargsyan wins the lottery with Russia

Only 5% of revenue from state lotteries goes to the budget, while the private operator remains as much as 45%.
We buy a ticket, we are waiting for the Sunday broadcast on NTV with bated breath. The host Mikhail Borisov in a magnificent mustache and with a bag of magic barrels quickly puts in place - the ticket was empty. The main prizes of billions of rubles are received not by those who play, but by those who sell.

Helipad Office

Russian Lotto is the most famous game, but far from the only one. There are dozens of luck games in the Stoloto assortment - “6 of 45”, “Housing Lottery”, “Matchball” and so on. In 2017, the state lotto system brought in revenues of 34 billion rubles, in 2018 - already 46 billion. All this money was provided by people who buy tickets.

On Thursday morning, there is already a small queue at the ticket office of the Stoloto central office. Winners come here - to receive winnings of several thousand rubles - or just fans who are sitting tight on the lottery hook. They like to be closer to the game (here you can follow the draws live). The elderly man was lucky - he won 1,160 rubles, but money is not the most expensive.

- Let's get a thousand of these tickets. And for 160 more of these, ”says the man with a gambling gleam in his eyes.

In the next window, a person buys a whole pack of 5,000 rubles. Basically, it guesses the "Russian Lotto". The most popular lottery accounts for about 75% of total revenue.

The central office is located in the Avilon dealership, which sells luxury cars, with a helipad, blue glazing and a scattering of premium Mercedes cars. If you're lucky big, you can sit down and go home on a new "swallow". But such cases are not remembered here.

Russian lotto with an Armenian accent

The lottery business in Russia is considered completely state-owned, but there is not much from the state. Only 5% of the total revenue goes to the budget for the construction of sports facilities, although for the sake of this, everything was planned. In 2014, at the initiative of Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, the Russian government banned all private lotteries. It was assumed that the system would become transparent, players would no longer be cheated with wins, and additional funds would be poured into the budget to maintain the infrastructure of the Olympics in Sochi. Two ministries are responsible for organizing the lotteries - the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Sports. Each of them has its own private operator, which is responsible for the drawing process itself - twists the balls, prevents the barrels, etc. Sportloto LLC is under the patronage of the Ministry of Finance, and State Sports Lotteries CJSC (GSL) is under the Ministry of Sports. The distribution and sale of all tickets is carried out by the Stoloto company. It would seem where is the snag? The answer is on Volgogradsky Prospekt Moscow. All sub-ministerial private firms are in the same office - the very same one, with a helipad.


How it works

Ministry of Sports
Ministry of Finance Operator:
"State Sports Lotteries"



In legal databases, all the strings stretch to Aram Sargsyan, the son-in-law of the former deputy. Moscow Mayor Joseph Ordzhonikidze (engaged in the regulation of the gambling business).

Until mid-2017, Sargsyan himself was listed as the founder of the GSL and Stoloto. In 2012, the Tuscany Holding company associated with it bought the Sportloto brand from Sberbank for 1.9 billion rubles.

Sargsyan is called the friend of the car dealer Alexander Varshavsky, who became the first dealer of Mercedes, Ford, and Rolls-Royce in Russia. At the Avilon Motor Show on Volgogradsky Prospekt, their paths still intersect.

 - We do not have a state lottery, one name. The state has given a monopoly on the business of one company, and itself receives a penny, ”says Dmitry Slobodkin, an expert on gambling. “Kamelot, the UK state lottery, brings 37% to the state budget, and the operator’s reward is only 1%. In our country, about 45% is received by a private operator. At the same time, it is an absolutely non-transparent business. Nowhere in the public report are the costs described - how much is spent on advertising, how much on distribution, and so on. Moreover, the software product itself - a computer algorithm - was purchased from a Greek company. The question arises: what, in fact, does the operator have? Tables and chairs?

Forgotten 2 Billion

Nobody needs 2 billion rubles in Moscow, and nobody takes them. One of the oddities of the financial reporting of the state lotto is the huge volumes of unclaimed winnings, which have long beat the mark of ten-digit numbers.

By law, those winnings that the winner “slept through” are waiting for him in the office for another six months. Then they are sent to a special account, which can be removed from them only with a statement of claim. After this period, money is poured into the federal budget. At least they should. Since 2013, the counter of unclaimed wins in the GSL reporting has never been reset - the money has not gone to the budget. This is confirmed by the report of the head of the GSL Valentin Kondrashov. According to him, in 2018 the federal budget received 2.4 billion rubles. With “forgotten” wins would be much more.

“There can be several explanations for this,” says Dmitry Slobodkin. - Maybe we are talking about the accumulation of small winnings, for which no one wants to come. But 2 billion is still a lot, in other countries I don’t remember that.

There is still the option that people cannot get their winnings due to a poor payout system. Or the third - a banal muhlezh.

Who earned the most?

According to the Federal Law "On Lotteries" at least 50% of all lottery proceeds should be allocated to winnings, 10% of what remains is taken by the state. Everything else is a reward for a private company. As a result, in 2018, only 49.6% went to the players due to the freezing of winnings. A little more than to private intermediaries - 45.2%. The state got only 5.2%.

If we add to the earnings of private companies also 2,178,832,350 unclaimed rubles, which, apparently, will not go anywhere from their accounts, it turns out that the intermediaries put in their pocket 150 million more than was released to players from all over the country.
- The most interesting: before the non-state lottery was removed, contributions to the state were 10% each. For some reason, non-state ones paid more than state ones pay now. It seems that this is just a corruption story that originated in the zero years, during the time of the State Sports Committee. Then it all started, - concludes Slobodkin.


Revenue distribution scheme (by law)

50% - on wins
45% to private intermediaries
5% to the state