Three of the largest clubs in the English Premier League (EPL) have received a warning from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that they could face prosecution and fines that could rise to millions of pounds in case they continue to promote a gambling sponsor of theirs, 1xBet.
The main gambling regulatory body in the UK has addressed Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea to inform them of the possible consequences if they continue to promote the controversial Russian gambling firm which had UK operating licence suspended. The UKGC has confirmed that it had contacted the three EPL football clubs to inform them that any promotion of 1xBet across the territory of the UK may be illegal, which could end up with them facing unlimited fines and imprisonment sentence for up to 51 weeks.
The UK Gambling Commission further explained that licensed gambling operators were not allowed to advertise on websites with illegal material.
The three Premier League clubs have been warned to immediately stop promoting the gambling company. 1XBet, which is based in Russia, has been blacklisted by regulators after the company was found to be involved in betting promotion on children’s sports, cock-fighting and even running a pornographic casino. For the time being, the gambling operator is said to be one of the largest advertisers on several sites which host unlawful Premier League live streams.
Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur Ditch 1xBet as Gambling Sponsor
As a result of the UKGC’s warning, 1xBet is no longer listed among the sponsors of Liverpool FC on the club’s official website. In addition, it is no longer mentioned on the club’s Twitter page.
The company later issued a statement, saying that it takes very seriously allegations that its brand has been popularised through prohibited sites and said that such promotion is strictly against its policies. The Russian gambling firm has also launched an investigation to see whether this is true.
Chelsea and Tottenham have always terminated their sponsorship contracts with 1xBet after being warned by the UKGC about the negative consequences the clubs could face if they keep their relationship with the controversial Russian gambling company. Tottenham Hotspur has parted ways with 1xBet which had been their official betting partner for Africa.
The fact that an increasing number of Premier League football clubs has been partnering with betting operators has been a controversial topic considering the growing problem with gambling addiction rates in the UK. As Casino Guardian has previously reported, some anti-gambling campaigners have been criticising professional football clubs for joining forces with gambling operators, saying such deals would promote gambling among underage individuals and would make it look like normal activity to minors.
This has been the first major intervention which the UKGC made at a time of growing concern over rising gambling participation and problem gambling rates. The presence of gambling brands in professional football, and especially on clubs’ shirts have been a hot topic for a few years now. Currently, more than half of Premier League football clubs feature a gambling operator’s logo as major shirt sponsor, while 17 out of 24 Championship clubs’ jerseys feature a betting logo.