One of the sponsors of Premier League clubs Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, 1xBet, has suspended its operations on the territory of the UK after an investigation held by the Sunday Times into improper conduct.
Currently, the access to the Russian gambling operator’s UK website is blocked, but the company is still promoting its services on social media, including its sponsorship deals to its partners of the English Premier League (EPL).
The Sunday Times has investigated into the global operations of 1xBet and found that it was promoting advertising on illegal websites, taking bets on children’s sports, a casino featuring topless croupiers and cockfighting live streams which display the logos of the three EPL football clubs. The major gambling regulatory body in the country, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) responded to the media findings and confirmed it had started an investigation into these allegations.
As the investigation findings showed, some of the top players of the three aforementioned clubs have fronted advertising campaigns for 1xBet. All three operators have close relationships with the Russian gambling operator which is currently based in Cyprus.
The allegations have been tabled at a time when the gambling sector in the UK is put under strict monitoring after accusations that operators’ ties with professional sports teams are too close so that gambling firms are given the chance to target an increasing number of potential customers.
1xBet Blames Overseas Marketing Partners for the Promotions and Advertising
Tottenham Hotspur revealed 1xBet as their official betting partner for Africa in August 2018. The company, however, has recently seen its license suspended in Kenya over unpaid tax issues as part of the Government’s efforts to tackle increasing problem gambling rates. On the other hand, Liverpool and Chelsea revealed their sponsorship agreements with 1xBet in July 2019. The Russian gambling operator has also inked a partnership with the Spanish football champions Barcelona until June 2024.
1xBet answered the accusations which emerged after the revelations made after the Sunday Times’ investigation, saying that its overseas marketing partners were the ones to blame for the promotions and advertising and piracy websites. It also pledged to initiate an investigation in case that any of the third-party networks or partners were found to advertise the company’s brand on sites which violate the law or are prohibited by law.
Now, the three British Premier League football clubs are facing allegations of whitewashing the reputation of 1xBet, which has recently become one of the most controversial betting operators on a global scale. This weekend the Times confirmed that a probe into the company’s activities by the UK Gambling Commission.
The platform provider FSB Tech which has been working in collaboration with 1xBet to offer the latter’s services on the territory of the UK has explained that British customers should not fear for the safety of their account balances but shared that its relationship with the Russian company is being reviewed.