SBC News Parimatch and bet365 close Russian operations as Ukraine invasion intensifies

Parimatch and bet365 close Russian operations as Ukraine invasion intensifies

As global condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, some international bookmakers have made the decision to cease operations in the country. 

Notably, Cyprus-based but Kyiv-founded operator Parimatch has announced that it is withdrawing its Russian franchise, citing the “military aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine”.

A statement from the company released yesterday confirmed that termination documents have been prepared and sent to Betring LLC, which was granted the rights to operate the Parimatch trademark in the region under the terms of an agreement signed in 2016. 

Additionally, the firm has stated that it will continue developing restrictions on the use of its brand in sponsorship contracts – Parimatch is currently a local partner of Spain’s LaLiga in the CIS region, of which Russia is the largest territory. 

“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,” the brand’s statement read.

“We strongly condemn the military aggression against Ukraine and try to do everything possible to help Ukraine!”

On Monday, Parimatch announced that it would launch a UAH 30 million (€2.9m) fund to provide direct support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which are currently fighting back against Russian troops in several key cities across the country.

The operator, founded in Kyiv in 1994 three years after Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union and later becoming one of Ukraine’s first online businesses, stated that the fund would be used to supply ammunition, food and medicine. 

Additionally, Parimatch has detailed that it is maintaining guarantees for those who planned to leave the company prior to the invasion, and is also continuing to pay salaries and hire new employees despite the conflict. 

Parimatch is not the only firm to announce an end to its Russian operations, however, as global giant bet365 is reportedly no longer offering its betting services in the country, according to Russian sources.

As a result, bet365’s Russian customers will have until 15 March 2022 to withdraw funds from their accounts, but registration on the site and acceptance of new deposits have been stopped much earlier. 

In a similar move to Parimatch, the Stoke-on-Trent based betting firm has requested that its partners remove logos, banners and marketing materials that could be used to promote its brand in Russia. 

Although no official reason has been given for bet365’s cancellation, it is difficult to describe the timing of the development with Russia’s invasion as a coincidence, especially as more and more company’s pursue similar strategies.

Numerous sports organisations, including FIFA, UEFA and the National Hockey League (NHL) have condemned the war and taken various actions. Russia will no longer be able to compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League has been relocated from St Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena and the NHL’s business deals in the country – such as a regional betting partnership with Liga Stavok have been suspended.

Meanwhile, Polish sports data company Statscore – which acts as a data provider for betting companies such as BoyleSports – has also confirmed that it has ceased supplying statistics and udpates from Russian or Belorussian sports tournaments, underlining the united front of sports.

A statement from the company on Twitter read: “We do not wish to provide any sports data and livescores for competitions organised by countries that just savagely assaulted other nations or helped in this process.”

Although delegates reportedly met for negotiations earlier this week, combat between the two countries’ armies has continued over the past few days, and a large Russian convoy has been pictured heading towards Kyiv.

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