Updated: 1xBet issues official statement in response to Sunday Times allegations.
Regulatory probe after initial investigation
Betting company 1xBet has had its UK-facing site taken offline after a British newspaper investigation sparked a regulatory probe into the firm’s operations.
The site was promoting a “pornhub casino”, which involves topless croupiers.
The Sunday Times reported that the site was promoting a “pornhub casino”, which involves topless croupiers. Allegedly, topless imagery was used in adverts linking back to the UK version of the website. 1xBet also advertised illegal websites and offered bets on children’s sports.
“Not currently available”
The investigation shed light on some of 1xBet’s operations in other jurisdictions, which offered betting on cockfighting and U19 athletic competitions. 1xBet was also called out for advertising on video file-sharing platforms, a practice that was banned by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in 2016.
Shortly after the newspaper publication, the UKGC began an investigation into operations at Russian-owned 1xBet. Until Friday, the company was operating under a deal with FSB Technology. It has since taken its website offline and has instead left a simple placeholder page stating “This site is not currently available.”
No need for concern
1xBet is the white-label partner of platform provider FSB Technology. Since the shutdown, FSB has announced that users who still have an active account with the firm should not be concerned, adding that:
The site is suspended. Player balances are protected.”
FSB also said they are looking into their relationship with 1xBet going forward, and that they themselves have always complied with UK regulations.
A spokesperson for 1xBet told the Times that the alleged breaches were likely carried out by “third party networks or partners” as opposed to the site operators themselves. He pledged to immediately investigate how adverts for their service appeared on websites that do not comply with UKGC regulations.
Russian operator now based in Cyprus
1xBet started out as a Russian betting operator, but has since launched overseas. It is now based out of Cyprus and licensed in Curacao. The move has led to the firm being added to Russia’s online gambling payment blacklist.
The investigation into 1xBet comes as part of a growing wave of complaints being made against gambling operators. The Times report was published just days before a BBC Panorama investigation into the surging numbers of customer complaints made against gambling operators in the UK.
The program looked into UKGC data and exposed a figure of 8,266 complaints filed in 2018 versus just 169 issued in 2013. The regulator told the BBC that the growing figures should not be considered as completely negative, but as a sign of consumers demanding higher standards in line with regulation.