Confusion As Ukraine Regulators Give Alleged Russian Operator Go Ahead

August 31, 2022
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Ukrainian regulators appear to have given the green light to controversial operator 1xBet after saying it has no apparent links to Russia.

Ukrainian regulators appear to have given the green light to controversial operator 1xBet after saying it has no apparent links to Russia.

Thousands of Ukrainians signed a petition demanding the national gambling regulator review and rescind the licence of Tvoya Bettingova Kompaniya (TBK) claiming it is linked through 1xBet to the Russian state.

However, the Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) said it had found no grounds for revoking the licence of TBK, according to a message on its Facebook page, which does not appear to have also been posted on its official website.

The company received permission from KRAIL to operate in Ukraine under the 1xbet.ua website earlier this year.

The regulator said it had initiated verification of the authenticity of the information in the documents submitted by TBK LLC for obtaining licences but had found no links to the Russian state.

Relevant requests were also sent to the Security Service of Ukraine, the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine, the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine, as well as the Podil District Prosecutor's Office of the city of Kyiv, which provides procedural guidance in the relevant criminal proceedings involving TBK, the regulator added.

"As of today, KRAIL has not received a single confirming document from the competent state authorities regarding the existence of ties between TBK and the owners of the 1XBET brand with the aggressor state," the commission said on Facebook.

It said that cancellation of licences in the absence of proper confirmation would be a violation of the law on the part of KRAIL.

Ukrainian gambling legislation contains a list of grounds for allowing the cancellation of a licence, among which is documentary confirmation of the control over the activities of the licensee by a state that is carrying out armed aggression against Ukraine.

The statement said that therefore documentary confirmation of the control by the Russian Federation over the activities of TBK would be the only basis for the commission to cancel its licence.

The 1xbet.ua website has a “Coming soon” promise in English and a Ukrainian address at the bottom of the page.

There have been claims the 1xbet brand is closely linked with the Russian state, including that the firm openly supports the Russian army and helps it financially.

The petition claimed the company operates in Ukraine under the 1xbet.com website, which “indicates that Russians are getting rich in Ukraine from the work of unlicensed betting sites and are not going to work through a site for which a licence has been obtained and accordingly pay taxes to the budget of Ukraine”.

It added that the website serves residents of Russia and Belarus, “which means that it works with Russian banks and payment systems, which, again, directly contradicts the position expressed by Zelensky that keeping connections with Russian banks, paying taxes and duties to the Russian state is giving money to terrorists”.

The Bureau of Economic Security, which checks the activities of companies in the field of gambling, primarily related to Russia, and the grounds for issuing them licences, seemed to indicate copies of some of the licence documents had not been available.

A review last November found that 1xBet had the most websites on European and Australian blacklists, with 1,800 in all.

         

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