The Colorado Division of Gaming has become the latest body to suspend coverage of Belarusian and Russian athletic events due to the unprovoked and illegal war wagered by Russia on its democratic neighbor, Ukraine. The decision effectively prohibits any gambling websites that hold a license from the regulator to offer bets and markets on events based in Russia or Belarus or that involve athletes from the countries.
Russian and Belarusian Sports Not Welcome
For the most part, Belarusian and Russian athletes have already become pariahs on the international scene with FIFA ruling that Russia would not be able to compete in the World Cup, and numerous other bodies suspending athletes from said countries from their events and leagues. As a result, the updated Official Sports Betting Catalog of Events and Wagers by the Colorado Division of Gaming will no longer include any events from either Belarus or Russia.
Since Saturday, sportsbooks in Colorado have been prohibited to offer any bets on events, players, or contests that are linked to the two belligerent countries. Russia is not the sole entity to blame for the war in Ukraine as foreign intelligence has proven that Belarus has also joined the military conflict, even though its government had denied doing so. Ample evidence suggests that Belarus has been using its air forces to bomb civilian and residential buildings.
Some of the suspended entities include the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia, the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association, and the Russian Football Union, among others. The Colorado Division of Gaming enforcement is hardly the only regulator or industry representative to act. Others have piled on.
Sportsbook Refuse to Cover Any Russian, Belarusian Events
FanDuel and DraftKings have sent an unequivocal message that they would not cover any Russian or Belarusian events. While this does not necessarily impact their bottom line, it’s a good sign where the sportsbooks stand in the conflict. Caesars, another prominent US sportsbook, also confirmed that it’s no longer offering Russian soccer, table tennis, volleyball, or hockey.
FanDuel said that it is “indefinitely suspending” all betting markets related to leagues in both Belarus and Russia. FIFA and the Union of European Football Association have also suspended Russia’s membership and the Russian Grand Prix has been removed from the Formula 1 circuit. Roman Abramovich, one of the richest Russian oligarchs, has decided to sell Chelsea FC for $3 billion and use the proceedings to help those impacted by the war, including Ukrainian and Russian refugees.
Russians have been racing to the border with Finland on foot or by car as they have been afraid that President Vladimir Putin may impose martial law. Meanwhile, a number of companies have decided to withdraw from the Russian market, including Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Dell, Samsung, and many others.