A major sports betting and online casino brand has become one of the first to take a stand against Russia amid the rising death toll in Ukraine.
Parimatch were one of the firms who revealed their intention to cease operations in the country, and so players in Russia will no longer be able to access their channels.
The situation is particularly poignant for Parimatch, who were founded in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and became one of its first major online businesses in the 1990s. They were also the first gambling firm to buy a licence in Ukraine in 2021 when the licensing laws in the country were changed.
What must be particular hurtful for them is that as recently as July 2021 they signed a sponsorship deal with Chelsea FC, the club owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is known to be a close ally of Vladimir Putin.
A separate company, Betring, had secured an agreement back in 2016 to operate a Parimatch franchise in Russia, however they have now been informed that the deal is off.
A statement on Parimatch’s website read:
“We have always been proud of the Ukrainian roots of our company, and in these difficult times we are even more overwhelmed by love for our native country.
“We strongly condemn the military aggression against Ukraine, and will try to do everything possible to help Ukraine.”
❗️The Parimatch brand withdraws franchise From Russia❗️
Our Supervisory Board stated that the company is withdrawing the franchise due to the military aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
— Parimatch Tech (@ParimatchTech) March 1, 2022
The firm has also confirmed its plan to donate 30 million Ukrainian Hryvnia – around £800,000 – in aid to the country, which will be used to fund medicine, food and logistics. They have also pledged to look after their 1,000 strong workforce in Ukraine, with the firm’s joint CEO Maksym Liashko telling Forbes:
“We are ready to help our employees if they want to relocate somewhere right now.”
More gambling firms are expected to follow the lead of Parimatch and and issue a Russian blackout, while one casino in Malta has taken the step of barring the Russian ambassador in the country from entering their premises.
The Casino Maltese, in the nation’s capital Valletta, has announced that the honorary memberships of Andrei Lopukhov and his wife Irina have been suspended.