The State of Colorado has suspended all betting on Russian sporting events effective immediately, a move designed to impact revenue associated with that country after its invasion of Ukraine. The ban also extends to Belarus, which aided Russia in the aggression that began on Feb. 24.
In a statement released over the weekend, the Colorado Division of Gaming instructed licensed sports betting operators in the state that no wagers are to be accepted on sporting events involving the Russian and Belarussian governing bodies, leagues, teams, or players from those countries until further notice.
Colorado also urged the sportsbooks in the state to examine “additional governing bodies, leagues, teams, players, and events representing Russia and Belarus and suspend them from their wager offerings.”
This is believed to be the first official state edict in the country to ban sports wagers involving Russian and Belarussian leagues, events, and athletes. The ban was implemented at 5 p.m. on March 5. Sportsbooks are making their own decisions in other jurisdictions, with a few removing wagers attached to the Russian and Belarussian markets.
Major betting expected: Potential record-breaking Colorado March Madness Betting Revenue
Which Sportsbooks Have Banned Betting on Russian Sporting Events?
For at least one major sportsbook in North America, the conflict in Ukraine has personal significance. The DraftKings controlled company SBTech has offices in Kyiv.
FanDuel was the first major sportsbook in the U.S. to announce it was taking down markets for Russian and Belarussian-related events and leagues. On Friday the sportsbook started to flash a message in their sportsbook app when users attempted to place bets on such events. As of Sunday, no offerings were visible in the FanDuel Michigan app for Russian and Belarussian contests and athletes.
Russia’s premier hockey league, KHL, will be impacted the most since sportsbooks typically offer action on their league games, parlays, and more. The KHL is currently in their playoff season. A few teams have removed themselves from the KHL Playoffs because of the armed conflict in Ukraine.
Russian and Eastern European table tennis is also popular with bettors, but with all action being removed for any events involving players from the two aggressor countries, that category will go dark for North American sportsbooks.
The sporting world has reacted swiftly to the Russian invasion of their neighbor: many leagues, organizations, and events have banned athletes and teams from activity. FIBA (The International Basketball Federation) has banned all Russian athletes and officials from its competitions until further notice, and officials in curling, ice hockey, climbing, gymnastics, track and field, badminton, field hockey, and equestrian competitions have taken similar action against Russia and/or Belarus.
Athletes representing those countries have been barred from the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, which recently got underway. Last week, Formula One announced that they will halt holding races in Russia until further notice.