Chelsea and Liverpool forced to cut ties with Russian owned global betting partner 1xBet

Premier League football clubs Liverpool and Chelsea have axed their sponsorship deals with Russian bookmaker …


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Premier League football clubs Liverpool and Chelsea have axed their sponsorship deals with Russian bookmaker 1xBet following the recent suspension of its license by the UK Gambling Commission over controversial advertising practices.

The two clubs terminated their deals with the online gambling operator shortly after Tottenham Hotspur did the same. All three teams were warned by the UK gambling regulator that they could face hefty penalties and prosecution if they continued to promote a brand that was no longer authorized to provide services on the territory of the nation.

Tottenham signed a long-term agreement with 1xBet in August 2018, under the terms of which the gambling operator became the Premier League team’s Official Betting Partner for Africa. Liverpool and Chelsea penned multi-year sponsorship deals with the company in July.

All three clubs received scolding by the UK Gambling Commission on the heels of 1xBet’s license suspension. The regulator told them that they should reconsider their relations with the bookmaker and that they could face prosecution and fines if they failed to sever ties with it.

Questionable Advertising Practices

1xBet appeared on the UK gambling watchdog’s radar screen after an investigation by the Sunday Times which detailed questionable and probably illegal marketing practices adopted by the Russian operator.

1xBet operated in the UK market under a license held by its white label partner FSB Technology (UK) Limited. According to the Sunday Times, the gambling operator took bets on children’s sports and cockfighting and was involved in the promotion of a “pornhub” casino that featured topless dealers. In addition, the news outlet established that the sports gambling operator was among the biggest advertisers on websites that stream illegally Premier League fixtures. 1xBet ads were also found all over torrent websites.

The UK Gambling Commission instigated a review of the company’s operation in the UK and ordered it to suspend its local activities. FSB said last month that it was reviewing its future relationship with the operator.

1xBet said that the appearance of brand-related advertising materials on questionable websites should be blamed on its affiliates. The company also said that it has initiated an internal investigation into the matter.

Sponsorship Deals See Massive Backlash

News about Tottenham, Liverpool, and Chelsea ditching their partner following pressure from the gambling watchdog emerged amid growing backlash over the number of sponsorship deals between Premier League teams and gambling firms.

Ten of UK’s 20 top flight clubs signed such agreements ahead of the new season, with those being worth a combined £69 million.

Commenting on the recent suspension of 1xBet’s license and the operator’s relationship with the three Premier League clubs, Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling said that it was

“shocking” and an “absolute debacle” that all three teams “failed to do the most basic due diligence checks on 1xBet before signing up for these multimillion-pound deals.”


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