Ukrainian Petition Calls For Expulsion Of Russia-Linked Gambling Operator

July 20, 2022
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​​​​​​​A petition to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is demanding the national gambling regulator review and ultimately rescind the licence of a company that it says is linked to 1xBet in violation of rules barring Russian influence.

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A petition to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is demanding the national gambling regulator review and ultimately rescind the licence of a company that it says is linked to 1xBet in violation of rules barring Russian influence.

The petition protests the March 30 licensing of Tvoya Bettingova Kompaniya, or in English “Your Betting Company”, for sports betting and online casino, saying that it is clearly part of 1xBet, a Russia-linked online gambling website based in Cyprus.

The protest petition, launched on July 8, already has more than 26,000 signatures. That is above the 25,000 threshold for recognition, which means it must be addressed by the President within three months.

The company received permission from the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) to operate in Ukraine under the 1xbet.ua website, which as of Tuesday (July 19), still had a “Coming soon” promise in English, and a Ukrainian address at the bottom of the page.

The petition claims the company nonetheless 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”.

That 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 you [Zelensky] that keeping connections with Russian banks, paying taxes and duties to the Russian state is giving money to terrorists”, the petition said.

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

In 2019, it was dumped by Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool Premier League clubs after UK sponsorship controversies, but it retains sponsorships with FC Barcelona, as well as several Brazilian football tournaments and OG Esports.

The regulator did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication, nor did 1xBet.

But on Tuesday KRAIL issued a reminder to Ukrainian land-based gambling venues that they were subject to regional curfews, like any other business.

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