Aspire Global and BETER terminate Russian business relationships

Aspire Global has made the decision to close its contract with Sports Lotteries LLC, the operator of the Russian National Lottery, whilst BETER has also ended its business relationships in the country.

The Malta-based sports betting and gaming software provider has cited ‘a different business view’ to Sports Lotteries as its primary motivation behind the partnership termination.

However, amid widespread industry backlash against the Russian invasion of Ukraine – condemnation of which has echoed across various political and economic fields – this could be seen as being a key motivator behind the Nasdaq-listed firm’s decision. 

Aspire has asserted that the termination of the deal, first signed in October 2020, “will not have any impact on Aspire Global’s income and earnings in 2022”.

The company has opened 2022 with a strong international trading strategy, having secured market entry in Denmark in January and final certifications in the Netherlands the following month, operating in both countries via its BtoBet sportsbook.

BETER, meanwhile, was more specific in detailing its rationale behind its decision to cease business activities with its operator partners in Russia, as well as give notice to any suppliers it works with in the country. 

The firm cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine, stating that it is “morally unable to continue doing business with a country that is an aggressor nation” for its partners and stakeholders in the wider international community.

Following the announcement, the gaming provider plans to scale up its Europe-based operations in order to strengthen its content, whilst its services will be streamed from several EU locations due to the closure of the Ukraine-based Setka Cup and ESportsBattle tournaments.

Gal Ehrlich, company CEO, said: “With the present situation we consider ourselves unable to continue doing business with a country that has affected the lives of so many of our BETER partners and stakeholders based in Ukraine. This is the reason why no one can remain indifferent.

“We are deeply concerned about the war that was started in Ukraine by Russia, that is why termination of all our operations in Russia with both operators and suppliers is a must. We stand with Ukraine in these troubled times. But still we see the potential of the Ukrainian market and hope soon to reopen our studios in several cities of Ukraine.”

Aspire and BETER are the latest firms to have called an end to its Russian operations, with Parimatch withdrawing its franchise in the country last week specifically citing the Ukrainian invasion. 

Bet365 has taken a similar approach to Aspire, having closed its Russia-facing bet365.ru site without any official explanation, informing its partners that it would cease activities in the country. 

Meanwhile, LeoVegas will no longer accept bets on Russian and Belorussian sports competitions, and sports data and technology companies Genius Sports and Statscore have also announced an end to business in both nations. 

Lasty, Allwyn’s Chair penned a joint later with the Chair of the firm’s holding company KKCG Group condemning the invasion and pledging support to Ukrainian refugees, and the European Lotteries has encouraged its members to cease accepting bets on russian sports competitions and cancel the membership of any Russian firms. 

A wider cross-industry initiative, Gaming Industry for Ukraine, has pledged to raise £250,000 to support Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser in order to provide assistance to the Ukrainian public during the conflict. 

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