Sportsbooks across the United States have come up with their own sanctions against Russia by no longer accepting bets on Russian sporting events. Both mobile and physical sportsbooks have suspended their Russian betting markets in response to the war in Ukraine.
At the Superbook at Westgate Las Vegas, director John Murray says it previously took action on Russian soccer, but the sportsbook decided to remove the market this week after the invasion. “It was an easy decision,” he says. “It’s minor part of the business and we don’t deserve to be praised for it.”
DraftKings, which offered bets on Kontinental Hockey League, the professional league headquartered in Moscow composed of teams across Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China, closed its Russian sports market. “We will no longer offer betting on sports leagues and events in Russia and Belarus, such as the KHL,” DraftKings said in a statement.
Caesars confirmed that it has also closed its betting market on Russian soccer, hockey, table tennis and volleyball, and Fanduel “indefinitely suspended” all betting markets on sports leagues and events held or connected to Russia and Belarus. PointsBet is no longer accepting bets or posting lines for Russian and Belarus based professional sports leagues and events as well.
Sports leagues are also cutting ties with Russia. FIFA and the Union of European Football Association said on Monday that Russia’s national soccer team will not be allowed to compete and Formula 1 terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix.
Facing a backlash from the war, Russian billionaire and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich announced Wednesday he would be selling the soccer team after members of Parliament said he shouldn’t be allowed to own the Premier League club.
The U.S. government has responded to Putin’s war by sanctioning billionaires—16 Russian business magnates have been hit with economic restrictions so far. The U.S. is also moving to seize assets like mega yachts.
A growing list of companies have pulled out of Russia, including Apple, Nike, H&M, Dell, Spotify, Ford. Western companies are ditching Russia’s lucrative and growing market as it has become a nightmare combination of logistical and operational obstacles topped with reputational risk.
Back in Las Vegas, Murray says sportsbooks are not “brave” for closing their Russian sports markets. “Given the climate and everything that’s going on in the world right now,” he says, “we just felt like it was better to get rid of it.”