1xBet, Betway, and Parimatch banned by government in India
1xBet, Betway, and Parimatch are among 232 betting apps banned in an sweeping move by India’s MHA
Betting apps 1xBet, Betway, and Parimatch, notable sponsors of multiple esports organizations, have had their apps banned in India following a sweeping decision by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs on Feb. 5. As a result, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will move to ban and block 232 apps to prevent misuse of the citizens’ data.
The news comes via PBNS India, who’s post on Twitter contains additional information.
According to a list posted on Inc 42 today (Feb. 7), 1xBet, Betway, Parimatch, and many other familiar names in the world of esports are among the 232 banned apps. These apps were reportedly targeted for a number of reasons ranging from misuse of citizen’s data, to fears about their use as tools of espionage and propaganda.
India has made efforts to block over 300 apps it claims have links to China in recent years, and many of these betting apps have also been accused of having ties to Beijing.
1xBet, Betway, and Parimatch have all offered esports betting on their platforms, as well as sponsoring numerous organizations and tournament organizers.
Who will the ban on 1xBet, Betway, and Parimatch effect in India and beyond?
With the ban, many of the major esports bookmakers that served India have now been rendered unusable. What’s more, several teams and esports organizations within the country have ties to the bookmakers and their apps.
1xBet, a Russian bookmaker and sponsor of Team Spirit, Tundra Esports, MiBR, ESL, and formerly WePlay, was last month declared bankrupt by the Dutch supreme court. 1xBet was also a key sponsor of TSM’s India, with promo codes for the site being showcased on their official Instagram.
TSM India reportedly competes in BGMI and Garena Free Fire, although the latter game was banned in India in 2022, citing concerns about national security.
Parimatch is currently partnered with Team Secret, and 00Nation. In 2022, the Parimatch organization cut ties with its Russian arm in response to the invasion of Ukraine. In the same year, Pari, a betting company led by former Parimatch Russia CEO, partnered with Indian esports organization Entity for The International 2022. Pari and Parimatch reportedly have no ties.
Betway, who are based in Malta, currently states on its website that it is partnered with esports organizations Ninjas in Pyjamas. They were previously a jersey sponsor for G2 esports. Their blog also shows past sponsorship of Furia, MIBR, BIG, beastcoast, and others.
Betway also partnered with tournament organizer BLAST in 2022, but most Betway logos have disappeared from recent marketing materials.
It’s unknown whether the bans will affect these sponsorships, but the crackdown on betting apps seems to have well and truly begun. There are now multiple examples of governments taking a hardline stance on betting apps. In many cases, those apps have ties to esports organizations — for whom sponsorships often make up a large portion of their revenue. As a result, betting sponsors are becoming an increasingly risky gamble for esports teams.