A gambling industry appeal to raise money to help those in need in Ukraine has reached GBP190,000 ($250,000) in a week and is urging businesses to donate now to help them reach their target of GBP250,000.
Among the major contributors to the fund is Betsson Group, which donated £50,000, Microgaming, OLBG, Better Collective, Just for the Win, Enteractive, Funfair Games, FSB Technology, Sports Media Holdings, Fast Track, Cash Magnet, Green Jade Games, Continent8 Games, Clarion Gaming, Beyond Play, SBC and VIXIO.
The money is being raised for Choose Love’s £2.5m Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser, which has already pledged £1m in vital aid and services to those still in and fleeing the country, including: emergency medical care, food, shelter, clothes, legal support, support for the LGBTQIA+ community and mental health support.
Karolina Pelc, who helped set up the campaign, commented:
“It is fantastic to get so many big companies on board as the gaming industry comes together to raise the funds for the Choose Love charity. The industry has been extremely supportive of our efforts as we look to help our friends in Ukraine during this difficult time.”
Choose Love explained how it has already made use of the monies raised by the gambling industry:
“Last week, as your donations continued to come in, we had a team of two on the ground to understand what is needed by all those in and fleeing Ukraine and build connections with teams responding…
“There are 2 broad strands to where funding is going – emergency response, and longer-term support and capacity building. We are working to ensure that both of these strands reach services in Ukraine and in the surrounding countries.
“We are distributing funds to partners operating in Ukraine, and in surrounding areas (Romania, Moldova & Poland), and will be updating you over the coming days with more detail. Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support.
Members of the industry who have been closely affected have also been sharing their experiences.
Alyona Gromova, Eastern European Head of Sales at SBC, explained the impact the invasion has had on her family:
“I will never forget the morning of February 24, 2022, which started with a very early call from my brother. He told me that he cut short his business trip and that he was trying to return home because war had started. I cannot put into words how this morning changed my life. I am far from my family now and it is extremely difficult. The nights are not the same and I almost stay sleepless all night until the morning comes so that I can call and text my relatives and friends asking about their safety. Last week has been the worst in my life. I am just praying that the war will finish soon, never to happen again. I thank you all for your support.”
CEO Gal Ehrlich who manages the Ukrainian-based company BETER shared his view on how they were staying tough and committed as a company through the crisis:
“BETER employs more than 500 employees and 1000 sportspeople in Ukraine. These are challenging times for us all, with our sites in Ukraine shut down, temporarily, though we remain committed to deliver quality content to our partners from our multiple locations situated across the EU. With many of our team members joining the Ukrainian defence forces, we have to reduce our production quantity; but we remain resilient, fully committed to our employees as well as partners, and are not going to stop.”
To make a donation to the Gaming Industry for Ukraine campaign visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/kjuwn-gaming-industry-supporting-ukraine-relief