Zelenskiy imposes sanctions against Russian bookmakers. Ukrainian Parimatch, Pokermatch, and Leo are among them
On March 10, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions against one hundred entrepreneurs and three hundred companies. The vast majority of these businesses and individuals are Russian, but there are also Ukrainian companies on the list. The editorial staff of AIN.Capital provides a brief summary of what is currently known.
Parimatch та Pokermatch
The largest Ukrainian betting company, Parimatch, appeared on the sanctions list. Additionally, Pokermatch, which has been part of the Parimatch group of companies since at least 2021, was also sanctioned. Several lesser-known companies in Ukraine that are part of the holding, such as Auspitsiya Limited («Ауспіція Лімітед»), were also sanctioned.
Sanctions were imposed on these companies for 50 years.
A few hours after the release of the President’s decision, Parimatch published an appeal to the National Security Council with a request to check the claims of pressure on the company. But it seems that the company was preparing for this in advance. Thus, on January 25, Parimatch Tech, the technical development branch of Parimatch, announced its rebranding. The new name is GR8 Tech. According to the announcement, GR8 Tech “inherited Parimatch Tech’s team of specialists” and “will not operate as a developer and service provider.”
Additionally, financial companies Leo and Leo Partners, which are popular in the gambling and betting market, were also sanctioned for 50 years.
1xBet and its subsidiaries
Sanctions were also imposed on a company called Your Betting Company («Твоя беттінгова компанія»). The Russian business 1Xbet was hiding behind this little-known name in Ukraine. The Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, which is responsible for issuing licenses, deliberately issued a license to a company with Russian roots that continues to work in the Russian Federation back in March 2022. It revoked the license only six months later and dozens of journalistic materials.
It also should be said that the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries issued the license because “The name is different, the founders are different, there was no evidence that this was a Russian company,” as it said at that time. This, of course, raises many questions, since 1XBet in Ukraine was supposed to be called 1Xbet.ua, which was mentioned in the documents.
Personal sanctions have also been imposed on men named Roman Semiokhin, Sergey Karshkov, and Dmitry Kazorin, who match the names of the founders and owners of the 1Xbet brand.
According to information from three unrelated sources cited by AIN.Capital, 1Xbet entered Ukraine through several high-ranking officials at the top of the government, who was supposed to have guaranteed the bookmaker’s safety in Ukraine. The Your Betting Companies and the Russian founders were also sanctioned for 50 years.
Companies linked to 1Xbet were also among those sanctioned. For example, Play Fan Investment («Плей Фан Інвестмент»), which operated in Ukraine under the name Fan Sport, is on the sanctioned list. There are other satellite companies on the list.
The list includes hundreds of Russian bookmakers and casinos, including SportBet («СпортБет»), Leon («Леон»), F.O.N.(«Ф.О.Н.»), Fortuna («Фортуна»), First International Bookmaker Company («Первая международная букмекерская компания»), Olymp («Олімп»), Paribet, “BetRing” («БетРинг»), Marathon («Марафон»), and even Sportloto («Спортлото»). Almost 250 companies in total.
What will the sanctions mean in practice?
Many of the sanctioned companies operated in Ukraine in one form or another long before the legalization of gambling in 2020. And not everyone spent full volumes of income through the license, who had it — after legalization. Falling under sanctions will, of course, force them to abandon the brand, but will not block the opportunity to earn.