International casino companies are rallying around Ukraine and against Russia over its invasion of the East European nation.
Parimatch, which is based in Cyprus, but was founded by a Ukrainian operator, has announced it will withdraw from Russa for “military aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.”
Parimatch was one of the first gaming operators licensed in Ukraine after it legalized gaming in 2020. The company also plans to restrict the use of its brand in sponsorship contracts, and has created a fund to provide financial support for the Ukrainian armed forces.
U.K. gaming giant bet365 has also stopped offering its services in Russia. Russian customers have been given until March 15 to withdraw their funds.
Polish-based sports data firm Statscore, which provides data for betting companies, has stopped supplying data for Russian and Belarusian sports.
On February 28, Karolina Pelc, founder and CEO of BeyondPlay, announced a fundraiser for Ukraine relief. Pelc stated, “The Gaming Industry for Ukraine initiative aims to raise £250,000 to support Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser, which supports projects providing vital aid to the refugees that are being created by Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.”
SBC CEO Rasmus Sojmark, also an organizer of the campaign, added, “The global gambling industry is a family, and what has become clear over the past few days is the strength of responsibility it feels in providing assistance to the people of Ukraine. Most organizations employ people from the country, or have done business in the region, shared a drink with them and above all have made friends with them.”
Anton Kuchukhidze, chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council (UGC) told CDC Gaming Reports, “All operators and UGC try to help the army in different ways, starting from money support to media activities.”
Gaming consultancy Regulus Partners expects that the boycotts and sanctions imposed on Russia will restrict funds and have an adverse effect on the European gaming industry in general. The consultancy said that “Western sanctions and Sino-Russian countermeasures to Russian military policy are likely to involve restricting the lifeblood of global gambling, either as collateral damage or on purpose.”
Sportsbooks like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet and Caesars Sportsbook have not stopped taking bets on Russian events and teams.