Liverpool have been warned they could face significant fines if they retain their partnership with controversial Russian betting agency 1xBet.
The club announced their deal with 1xBet two months ago, with the multi-year agreement as ‘global betting partner’ including in-stadium branding and promotion on social media.
Reds chief operating officer Billy Hogan described the club as being “delighted” with the development, adding that “I know that their games and special offers will appeal to our fans around the world.”
However, in the weeks since, concerns have emerged over 1xBet’s conduct, including the promotion of gambling on children’s sports and cockfighting, with their license suspended in both England and Kenya.
They were reported to have advertised on close to 4,000 websites with illegal content.
According to the Times, the Gambling Commission had contacted Liverpool and Chelsea “to say any promotion of 1xBet in this country may be unlawful, risking unlimited fines and up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.”
These are clearly serious ramifications, and Tottenham have already terminated their deal with 1xBet, though according to the Mail, Liverpool and Chelsea are still associated.
1xBet is no longer listed among Liverpool’s sponsors on the official website and have also removed any mention of the agency on their Twitter page, but they declined to comment on the situation when questioned by the Times.
“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,” a statement from 1xBet confirmed.
“Pending the outcome…we believe it is responsible to temporarily suspend our advertising activity in the UK.”
That the Reds have a ‘global betting partner’ in the first place should be considered a controversial topic given the growing problem with gambling addiction in the UK and abroad.
Until this summer, Liverpool were in partnership with BetVictor, who also sponsored their training kits.
Ex-Reds striker Daniel Sturridge was banned from football for two weeks and fined £75,000 in July for breaching the Football Association’s betting rules.