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The online gambling industry stands behind Ukraine and its people

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The online gambling industry is coming together to show support for those affected by the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia are currently the main talking points across the globe due to the recent war outbreak. What you might not know is that Ukraine is home to many working within the online gaming industry.

Leaving the question of how the current war will impact the online gambling industry and the companies within Ukraine.

Help for the iGaming industry in Ukraine

There are several iGaming tech hubs, development studios, and other gaming stations including support networks for suppliers and operators located within Ukraine. These are all currently facing the reality of the invasion.

Across the globe, there is an outpouring of emotion, messages of support, and actions being taken. One noticeable action from the iGaming industry is currently rallying support for Ukrainian friends and colleagues.

Apart from the support rolling in via messages and social posts, there are several firms taking action to actively help these colleagues.

Phil Pearson, iGaming Group COO stated that they have already taken measures to move staff located in Ukraine. Pearson continued that while thoughts and prayers are with the rest of the people in Ukraine, it hits close to home as they have staff spread out across various areas.

They are giving staff the opportunity to relocate on company funds and providing accommodation at company cost. There are also staff available to provide 24/7 assistance should they require it.

There is also a package available from the CRM specialists Optimove to assist Ukraine-based staff. CEO, Pini Yakuel, says their team in Ukraine feels it is necessary to help in every way they can.

They also made an announcement of a special grant for every team member based in Ukraine helping them leave the country and head to safer grounds until this blows over.

According to Yakuel, many members have already made use of the grant and have been temporarily relocated to neighbouring countries while others are in the process of leaving.

Working together

Dima Dimants, iGaming Content Services CEO is taking a different approach by both extending a helping hand to Ukrainian partners and promising to end his company’s working relationships with Russian firms. Dimants stated that this might be a small contribution but in his current role, it is all he can do on the platform. Dimants continued stating that commitments to Ukrainian companies and freelancers will stand and the current war will not affect that relationship.

In a recent statement, Dimants told 5 full-time members from Ukraine that currently planned tasks for Q1 are irrelevant and that instead, they should focus on helping in any way possible from being active on social media to supporting on the ground. Dimants says that this will not affect salary and all members will still receive a full salary no matter what.

Several organisations within the gaming industry are working together and launching a fundraising project to assist those that are currently in need due to the military action taken in Ukraine. The Gaming Industry for Ukraine initiative is hoping to raise £250,000 in support of Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser. Supporting this project provides vital aid to refugees including emergency medical care, food, shelter, legal support, and mental health support. The campaign is supported by many including companies such as SBC.

The LeoVegas Group is committing time and effort to help employees and consultants situated within Ukraine in any way they can. In the past few weeks, they have prepared contingency plans and are ready to provide support. The LeoVegas Group is also donating 500,000 SEK (€47,000) to the Red Cross in support of essential, lifesaving work within the region.

Another big player in the industry, the Entain Foundation, has donated £50,000 to provide humanitarian aid to all affected in Ukraine. The donation is made via Crown Agents, a non-profit organization running in Ukraine for more than 25 years. It goes towards life-saving medical equipment that will treat the increasing numbers of injured and wounded people within the region.

Impact on the industry

The online gambling industry is impacted by the current conflict within Ukraine. As homes and buildings are being destroyed, the industry continues to call for support. The esports and sports betting industry has grown within Ukraine and many companies are now being urged to move.

The game provider Aristocrat reported suspending Russian mobile gambling and not operating in the country. Not only that, but the company supports actively all Ukrainian-based employees and their families, and also provides funds, shelters, and supplies for those in need. 

Another big change was the Parimatch Tech withdrawing Parimatchwin Casino from Russia over the invasion. Parimatch was founded in Ukraine and feel strongly against the latest occurring, so they are not only taking their franchise away from Russia but also allocating UAH30m (£750,180/€905,610/$1.0m) for protecting ammunition, food, medicine and logistics to help Ukrainians. CasinoWow got a comment on the withdrawal, and it speaks for itself: "Turbulent times require bold moves."

CEO of Thundermark, Yuriy Dyachyshyn, operates a game studio of about forty people and they are trying to produce contingencies to help employees. One is for all to pack up and move to the western part of the country.

WePlay Esports says that its office in Ukraine will continue to operate, and employees will continue to work from home. G5 Entertainment, a mobile game developer, says they are keeping an eye on the situation and for the time being no staff are involved in hostilities. Some employees have been relocated while the majority remain in their hometowns.

For sports bettors, there are a lot of changes to follow, this includes the Champions League Final in UEFA changing location. According to UEFA, it was to take place in Russia’s Gazprom Stadium in Saint Petersburg on May 28th, but this is no longer on the cards.

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