Major US Sportsbooks End Betting On Events In Russia, Belarus

Written By Matthew Waters on March 3, 2022 - Last Updated on March 7, 2022
Russia

Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet are no longer taking bets on sports leagues or events in Russia or Belarus.

DraftKings announced first with a tweet Thursday afternoon that noted the removal started today. DraftKings also noted it has no direct commercial relationship with any sports organization, team or league in either country.

FanDuel later told LSR it was taking down the same markets. PointsBet announced its decision later Thursday afternoon with Caesars confirming the markets were down after 8 pm Eastern.

Also pulling the markets since Friday:

  • B2B sportsbook tech provider IGT
  • Colorado Division of Gaming
  • Penn National/Barstool

DraftKings responds after Ukraine conflict

The DraftKings tweet message was headed by the Ukraine flag. The ban applies not just to US B2C operations but to all of DraftKings’ global B2B operations as well.

DraftKings acquired sports betting technology platform SBTech in April 2020. The company has an office in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Will other books join ban?

LSR reached out to multiple US sports betting operators to ask whether they would match DraftKings’ ban on Russian and Belarusian sports and events.

As of publication, only FanDuel responded that it was taking down markets.

What sports are affected by Russia ban?

The biggest impact would be felt on the KHL, Russia’s top hockey league. The KHL is in the midst of its playoffs even though some teams have dropped out following Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

Perhaps the biggest blow, though, is to table tennis lovers who grabbed onto the sport during the coronavirus lockdowns in 2020.

The sport had the eighth-highest handle at Colorado sportsbooks in January with $7.6 million bet. It was also Colorado’s most-bet sport during its launch month of May 2020.

Baseball could be next

Table tennis and other fringe sports might be in for a resurgence this spring if Major League Baseball does not negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association. So far, the league canceled the first two series for each team.

There are also various leagues in one or both countries for many other sports including:

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Futsal
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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