US Sportsbooks Halt Betting on Events in Russia, Belarus as Ukraine Conflict Continues

  • PointsBet, DraftKings, Caesars, and FanDuel are among the operators to halt betting
  • The measure will also cover DraftKings’ B2B operations outside of the US market
  • One of the most popular events impacted is Russia’s leading hockey league, the KHL
  • Global sports organizations have sanctioned Russian and Belarusian teams and athletes
Ukraine and Russia flags with soldier shadows
A number of major US sportsbooks are no longer offering betting on sporting events in Russia and Belarus. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sportsbooks come together

Many leading US sportsbooks have halted betting on sporting events in Belarus and Russia due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The list of operators doing so includes DraftKings, PointsBet, Caesars, and FanDuel.

DraftKings announced the move on Thursday via Twitter:

The ban will also include all of DraftKings’ worldwide B2B operations. The matter hits particularly close to home for the sportsbook giant as its SBTech subsidiary has an office in Kyiv, Ukraine.

It is unclear if any other major US sportsbook operators outside of the ones mentioned will also take a similar stance and prevent betting on these markets.

Popular markets no more

The Russian sporting event that receives the most betting attention in the US is the nation’s leading hockey league, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The KHL playoffs are continuing, despite certain teams from Latvia and Finland pulling out due to the Ukrainian conflict.

Betting on games in the Russian soccer leagues is also popular.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has now entered its second week, with extensive fighting taking place across the country.

Some gambling operators with exposure in Russia and Ukraine have taken mitigation steps. FanDuel’s owner Flutter Entertainment revealed on Tuesday that it expects revenue in both nations to fall to zero soon. Last year, Flutter’s revenue from Russia reached £41m ($54.6m), while Ukraine revenue amounted to £19m ($25.3m).

Flutter has confirmed that it is doing everything it can to support its contractors and subcontractors living in Ukraine.

Taking action

Sporting organizations all across the world have introduced sanctions to prevent the participation of Russian and Belarussian teams and athletes in certain events. This includes a ban on these countries in the Winter Paralympics, the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix, and the suspension of all Russian soccer national teams from international competitions.

canceling sponsorship partnerships

Many sports organizations are also canceling sponsorship partnerships with Russian companies. Gambling operator Parimatch Tech has decided to use its advertising spaces with English Premier League soccer clubs to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.