Posted on: March 3, 2022, 05:40h.
Last updated on: March 3, 2022, 05:40h.
Four of the largest US sportsbooks on Thursday announced they would stop taking action on Russian sporting events in wake of that nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
DraftKings issued a statement early Thursday afternoon, and spokespeople with Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel and PointsBet confirmed to Casino.org they also pulled the markets on Thursday.
DraftKings has no direct commercial relationships with any Russian or Belarusian league, team or sports organization,” the company’s statement said. “Our Customer Experience team is prepared to answer questions from any customers impacted by this change.”
The move is likely largely symbolic, but it will affect action on some soccer and hockey games. The Russian-based KHL is considered the second-best hockey league in the world, behind only the NHL.
The KHL started its playoffs this week, and member teams from Latvia and Finland announced they would protest the invasion by electing not to participate in the postseason event.
The Belarusian Extraleague is also one of Europe’s top hockey leagues. In addition, the Eastern European countries also were home to several top table tennis competitions – those matches became popular for bettors when COVID-19 forced US leagues to shut down two years ago.
It’s uncertain if other sports betting operators have or will follow suit. Not all sportsbooks take action on all leagues, even if states permit them.
EPT Sochi Tournament Stop Also on Hold
The wagering suspension is the latest step taken by the gaming community after Russian forces entered the sovereign European nation that emerged from the former Soviet Union three decades ago.
Last week, the European Poker Tour announced the rescheduling of its event planned later this month in Sochi.
The event will now take place in the Black Sea resort city in early October, for now.
From a sports perspective, UEFA – Europe’s regulatory body for soccer – pulled the May 28 Champions League final from St. Petersburg last week. It will now take place in Paris.
Earlier this week, FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, announced the suspension of Russian national teams from all international competitions. The move essentially eliminates it from qualifying for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. The move came after other countries objected to playing the Russian men’s team amid the war in Ukraine.
Western Businesses Respond to Russian Invasion
Gaming companies aren’t the only ones taking action against Russia for its act of aggression against its neighbor.
According to Reuters, Disney, Warner Bros., and Sony Entertainment have all pulled plans to release all new films in Russia.
Sportswear manufacturers Nike and Puma have suspended shipments to the country, and H&M has stopped sales of its fashion apparel there.
Most vehicle and tech companies have also stopped their shipments of products and parts to the country.
Earlier Thursday, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA announced it was closing its 17 stores in Russia. It also suspended shipments to and from Russia and Belarus.
Belarus, another former Soviet republic just north of Ukraine, has maintained friendly relations with Russia and allowed Russia to stage troops near the border before the invasion.