English top-flight soccer club Tottenham Hotspur have terminated their multi-million pound sponsorship deal with 1xBet as their official betting partner for Africa after the gambling brand pulled its UK website.
It follows a Sunday Times investigation into the company’s global operations which uncovered a string of violations, including bets on children’s sports, advertising on illegal websites and cockfighting live streams.
Having contacted Tottenham, the Gambling Commission, the UK’s gambling regulator, has also written to Chelsea and Liverpool, who still partner with 1xBet, warning them that any promotion of the betting firm in the country may be unlawful, risking unlimited fines and up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs sponsor 1xBet suspends UK operations over probe
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.”
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.”
It is the first major intervention by the Gambling Commission amid a growing concern over the prevalence of gambling companies involved in soccer, particularly on shirts. More than half of Premier League teams have a gambling company’s logo as a front of shirt sponsor, while 17 out of 24 Championship club jerseys feature a betting logo.
Though Tottenham confirmed it had cut ties with 1xBet, the Sunday Times reports Chelsea are monitoring the situation, while Liverpool had no comment.
It is the first loan spell overseas for the Brazilian who enjoyed plenty of playing time at Newcastle where he was on loan for the past season and a half. He made 41 appearances for the St James’ Park club, scoring three goals. He previously had a spell at Watford.
Since joining Chelsea in 2015, Kenedy has made 27 appearances for the Blues and was an unused sub in the first two games of this season.
He has scored three Chelsea goals including on his first start for the club in a League Cup game at Walsall. In March 2016 at Norwich he scored the Premier League’s fastest goal of the season after 39 seconds. In the first half of the 2017/18 season, Kenedy featured in both domestic cup competitions for the Blues, scoring the opening goal in a Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest before making his loan move to Newcastle.
His latest club Getafe are looking for their first win of the season having drawn two and lost one game so far.