Tottenham Terminate 1xBet Deal after UK Gambling Commission Warning

Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur said over the weekend that it has cut ties with sponsor 1xBet. The announcement comes shortly after the Russian gambling operator’s UK website was suspended.

The Spurs’ decision to ditch the controversial brand as their sponsor also arrives on the heels of a recent warning by the UK Gambling Commission. The regulator warned the club along with Chelsea and Liverpool that they are all facing prosecution and hefty fines if they continue to promote a business that is no longer licensed to provide gambling services on the territory of the UK.

Under a long-term agreement signed last August between Tottenham and 1xBet, the operator became the football club’s Official Betting Partner for Africa. Liverpool and Chelsea announced in July that they have signed similar multi-year sponsorship agreements with 1xBet, under the terms of which it became their official global partner.

The Russian gambling company operated in the UK as a white-label partner of gaming and betting technology and platform provider FSB Technology (UK). 1xBet’s UK-facing website was suspended last month and the UK Gambling Commission is currently investigating both the gambling operator and FSB.

UKGC Urges Clubs to Cut Ties with 1xBet

The Sunday Times reports that the commission has warned Tottenham, Liverpool, and Chelsea to nix their sponsorship deals with 1xBet. In a letter, the regulator told the three football clubs that they could face “unlimited fines and up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment”, if they choose not to cut ties with the controversial bookmaker.

Tottenham was the only of the three clubs to act immediately and terminate its long-term deal with 1xBet in the wake of the Gambling Commission’s warning. Liverpool did not comment on the matter when approached by The Sunday Times, and Chelsea said that it “was monitoring the situation.”

The gambling watchdog’s letter to the three football clubs is its first proper intervention amid massive backlash over football being sponsored by the gambling industry.

Commenting on the latest developments, Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling told The Sunday Times that it is “shocking” and an “absolute debacle” that the three football clubs “failed to do the most basic due diligence checks on 1xBet before signing up for these multimillion-pound deals.”

The Sunday Times Investigation

1xBet’s troubles in the UK were prompted by a recent investigation by The Sunday Times that detailed the operator’s questionable advertising practices. The newspaper found out that it the 1xBet brand was involved in the promotion of betting on children’s sports, cockfighting, and even of a “pornhub” casino that featured topless dealers. In addition, The Sunday Times reported that 1xBet was among the biggest advertisers on websites that stream illegally Premier League matches and on torrent websites.

1xBet’s UK operation was suspended last month and its local partner, FSB, said that it was reviewing its relationship with the Russian operator. 1xBet is blacklisted in a number of countries, including its homeland as well as Poland and Israel, among others.

The gambling operator previously said that any illegal advertising activity relating to its brand should be blamed on its affiliates. 1xBet has also said that they take very seriously the allegations that the brand has been promoted on illegal websites and they have launched investigation into the matter.

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