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Colorado suspends sports betting on Russian, Belarusian events following Ukraine invasion

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s sports betting regulators have suspended betting on all Russian and Belarusian leagues and events following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Department of Revenue's (DOR) suspension, which went into effect on Friday and remains in place until further notice, applies to governing bodies, leagues, teams, and players associated with sports in these regions. 

Details of the suspension were published in the Official Sports Betting Catalog of Events and Wagers, which identifies approved entities and events for gambling. 

“Suspended entries were identified and published in the bulletin, and sports betting operations are expected to make all reasonable efforts to comply with the directive,” DOR said in its announcement.

The suspension immediately impacted several ongoing events, each of which was suspended by the director of the Division of Gaming for “integrity issues” with the wagers, according to the bulletin. 

For example, Colorado bettors can no longer wager on Russian or Belarusian players in ongoing table tennis tournaments such as the WinCup series or the Table Tennis World Cup. 

Table tennis was among the most popular sports for wagers when Colorado legalized sports betting in 2020, according to monthly data provided by DOR. But the sport has fallen out of favor with many investors as it only accumulated $7.5 million in wages last month. 

The suspension also impacts players and teams who are competing in international events such as the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship, which is scheduled to end on March 8. Colorado bettors placed more than $26.4 million in wagers on ice hockey last month, DOR’s data shows. 

The state's public employee pension fund has also withdrawn more than $7.2 million held in a Russian bank in response to their invasion of Ukraine.