September 3 – Chelsea and Liverpool have followed Tottenham Hotspurs’s lead earlier this month and ended their sponsorships with Russian online betting firm 1xBet.
1xBet came under scrutiny after it pushed the boundaries of its marketing for new punters with topless croupiers. It also faced allegations that odds were being offered on children’s sports as well as ‘battlecock’ bets on live streamed cockfights.
The gaming business had suspended its UK site but had continued its club promotions, aimed at overseas markets. It still has a sponsorship with Barcelona.
Chelsea and Liverpool had signed sponsorships this July with 1xBet. The global sponsorship deal for Liverpool replaced an £8 million a year sponsorship the club had with BetVictor that included sponsorship of the club’s training kit and saw the betting firm’s logo most frequently on Jurgen Klopp’s match day jacket.
At Spurs 1xBet was in the second year of its sponsorship as the club’s official betting partner for Africa.
Founded in 2011, the Russian company built its business via offering higher payout rates that are normally only found with Asian operators. But actually getting winnings paid out has proved problematic with internet forums pointing to gamblers unable to withdraw funds and multiple hurdles being put in their way to do so by 1xBet.
The UK Gambling Commission – which is investigating 1xBet – has written to Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool, warning them that any promotion of the betting firm in the UK may be unlawful with the potential penalties of unlimited fines and up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.
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