Tottenham Hotspur have ended their partnership with Russian betting company 1xBet after the organisation lost their license to operate in Britain.
1xBet were forced to block access to their website in the UK amid numerous accusations of regulation breaches, including taking bets on children's sports and advertising on illegal websites.
Breaking: Tottenham Hotspur football club says in statement to @thesundaytimes it has "terminated" its multi-million pound betting partnership with gambling firm 1xBet. The deal was to run until 2022.— Jon Ungoed-Thomas (@JonUngoedThomas) August 31, 2019
Spurs had been sponsored by 1xBet before the investigation but, according to The Times, they have now terminated their deal with the Russian organisation. Striker Harry Kane had also been used publicly to promote 1xBet, as did Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Chelsea's Willian.
Both Liverpool and Chelsea have also partnered with 1xBet, but they have now been contacted by The Gambling Commission to warn them that promoting the company could be a breach of UK law, which could bring about unlimited fines and even prison time.
The Gambling Commission stated: “We recently wrote to Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC to remind them that organisations engaging in sponsorship, and associated advertising arrangements, with an unlicensed operator may be liable to prosecution...for the offence of advertising unlawful gambling.”
Liverpool declined to comment when invited to, whilst Chelsea revealed they are 'monitoring the situation'.
1xBet said: “We take very seriously the allegation that 1xBet’s brand has been promoted on prohibited sites, which is strictly against our policies, and we have launched an investigation. Pending the outcome...we believe it is responsible to temporarily suspend our advertising activity in the UK.”
We are pleased to introduce 1XBET as our official Betting Partner for the next three seasons! 🤝— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 15, 2019
White Bullet Solutions, a London monitoring firm, found that 1xBet had advertised their services on nearly 4,000 websites with illegal content, which is against the law in the UK.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “It is shocking that these football clubs failed to do the most basic due diligence checks on 1xBet before signing up for these multimillion-pound deals. It’s an absolute debacle.”