Opinion: Ukraine Gambling Sector Exemplifies Nation’s Resilience in Face of Putin’s Aggression

  • The UGC has confirmed that gambling businesses continue to operate in Ukraine despite the war
  • The state is also working with the sector by waiving the need to renew licenses until peacetime
  • Operators are fighting back in other ways too, like the $4.9m in donations made by Parimatch
  • Like the country’s armed forces, the sector is showing how to stand up to a villainous dictator
Vladimir Putin
Ukraine’s gambling sector is standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin by continuing to operate in the wartorn country and providing cash to help in the fight. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Not lying down

It’s now been almost six months since Russian forces first invaded Ukraine, beginning a campaign of bloodshed in the once peaceful European nation. In that time, the people of Ukraine have shown incredible fortitude in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unscrupulous aggression, refusing to give up an inch of land without fighting tooth and nail.

the sector seems to have personified the steadfastness of the nation

The Ukrainian gambling industry is certainly no exception to this. In fact, the sector seems to have personified the steadfastness of the nation. While gambling operators have understandably lost significant traffic – especially land-based casinos and slot machine halls – they continue to operate from the wartorn country.

Ukrainian Gambling Council (UGC) head Anton Kuchukhidze recently gave an update on the sector. He confirmed that land-based venues near the front line had suffered most due to ongoing shelling, while many in the West serve customers as usual. Meanwhile, online businesses continue to operate across the country.

Much like the nation’s armed forces, it’s evident that Ukraine’s gambling businesses are refusing to lie down.

Working together

Like many other operators, Parimatch, perhaps one of the most well-known Ukrainian gambling brands, has made its thoughts on the war very clear. Shortly after the conflict was declared in late February, the firm released a statement that seemed to sum up the industry’s resilience:

Clearly, the desire to remain in Ukraine is strong among the industry’s members and, as Parimatch rightly noted, they must all work together towards this goal. Teamwork isn’t just reserved for those within the industry, however. Those policing it have also played their part to keep the sector afloat.

In a landmark moment, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries recently drafted legislation to waive the need for license renewals during the conflict – a measure that could prove vital for the survival of the sector. While the regulator continues to oversee the industry and support problem gambling victims, strict payment measures seem absurd in the face of a new shared enemy.

Gambling companies see their future in our country”

The UGC, meanwhile, has also played its part. The body has consistently backed the industry, highlighting its efforts to support the armed forces in local media. Commenting on the industry’s response to the crisis, UGC deputy chairman for communications, said: “Gambling companies see their future in our country, believe in Ukraine’s victory, and do everything to bring it close.” The body has also reduced its membership fees.

Fighting back

As made clear by the UGC, many Ukrainian gambling firms are contributing funds to help in the fight against Russia.

Ukrainian sportsbook brand Parimatch has led the way. In June, the amount of financial assistance provided to Ukraine from Parimatch Tech and Parimatch Ukraine had reached a staggering $4.9m. The company spent the money on ammunition, food, medicine, clothing, and logistics.

Meanwhile, sports betting and gaming operator Vbet has launched the ‘We Care Fund’ initiative. This collects a certain amount of funds from every spin made in its live casino and other games bearing the ‘We Care Fund’ logo. The cash goes towards humanitarian aid in Ukraine and Vbet has confirmed it will keep the fund going in peacetime to help rebuild the nation.

Likewise, Cosmolot, an online casino brand owned by Spaceiks LLC, has also donated considerable funds. The company supports volunteer projects helping to equip the Ukrainian armed forces. In fact, the Ministry of Defense for Ukraine thanked the company directly for its assistance to the front line.

Members of the gambling sector further afield have also donated to Ukrainian efforts through the Gambling Industry for Ukraine initiative, which has raised $315,344. In May, VegasSlotsOnline News’ David Lappin spoke with Irish poker pro Fergal Nealon who has now raised $152,489 for his own Ukraine humanitarian organization Rapid Response Ukraine.

Setting an example

Putin expected to win the Ukraine war in a matter of weeks. Instead, the Russian President is still far from his goal after spending months trying to capture the country. His forces currently hold the Southern and Eastern regions, but they have suffered heavy losses since the invasion began and significant quantities of Russian weaponry have been destroyed or captured.

operators have begun to make some ground back

Like the Ukrainian forces, the gambling industry has not faltered in the face of unwavering aggression. To the contrary, operators have begun to make some ground back. Kuchukhidze confirmed that traffic for online businesses is now “many times better” than at the start of the conflict, highlighting the viability of the segment in particularly trying times.

Undoubtedly, whether it’s by refusing to leave or supplying funds to humanitarian efforts, Ukraine’s gambling businesses are truly setting an example to the rest of the world. They’re showing how to stay strong, how to work together, and how to stand up to a villainous dictator.