When gambling was re-legalised in Ukraine, Parimatch reacted quickly and in March 2021 it became the country’s first licensed betting and casino operator. Eight months on, Parimatch Ukraine CEO Nataliia Hilevych spoke to CasinoBeats about the opportunity for the company in its home nation, how the gambling industry can benefit the country’s economy, and the operator’s safer gambling efforts.
CasinoBeats: Following the legalisation of gambling in Ukraine, Parimatch was one of the first operators to secure an online casino licence. How do you view the online casino market opportunity in what is one of Europe’s largest countries?
NH: Legalisation of online casinos and the gambling industry stimulates development of technologies, creates jobs in the IT industry and helps to raise the level of expertise of Ukrainian specialists. Proof of this was clearly demonstrated at the exhibition during the SBC Summit CIS.
And this is only the beginning of unleashing the potential of Ukraine. Soon our country will have to compete with experienced world giants. To withstand this global competition we need more than just moving at the same pace as the world. We need to move faster than others, and this is possible only when the actions of investor companies and the state are synchronised.
CB: How do you see the market in Ukraine developing over the next 12 months? Are there any changes you would like to see to the regulation and taxation regime to assist the development of the industry?
NH: The regulator needs to establish a process so that the gambling business operates according to transparent and understandable rules. The priority tasks are the development of a necessary regulatory framework, creation of a state system of online monitoring, as well as adherence to principles of responsible gambling both on the players’ and operators’ sides.
Constant steps in this direction and the willingness of legal representatives of the betting industry to cooperate will ensure a constant high level of interest in the gambling market in Ukraine.
CB: Aside from generating tax revenue, what economic benefits will the regulated gambling market bring to Ukraine? Is the opportunity to create high-skilled jobs in the gambling technology supply chain likely to be the greatest benefit?
NH: The development of any business involves functioning of related industries. Sectoral mass media, both electronic and printed, are developing. Sectoral journals appear. Job search websites are full of vacancies for SEOs and copywriters familiar with the topic of gambling.
The qualifications of lawyers and accountants, employees of security firms and representatives of the IT business, who develop support and service systems for the gambling industry, are being improved. The domestic tourism market, the hotel and restaurant industry, and the souvenir market are reviving next to offline gambling establishments.
CB: It’s been difficult for sports fans across Europe to miss the Parimatch brand in recent months, most notably during Oleksandr Usyk’s victory over Anthony Joshua, but also in the partnerships with Chelsea, Juventus and other football clubs. How does that kind of international profile impact your business in Ukraine?
NH: Sponsorship in general, and sports sponsorship in particular, is a vital part of a company’s communications strategy, but it’s also an expensive activity.
Marketers consider sponsorship an important tool for building brand equity and corporate image, especially in times of increased media fragmentation. Over the past two decades, sports sponsorship has gained an ever-growing share of marketing budgets and has become a key component of the marketing communications mix.
Unlike traditional tools, sponsorship allows you to communicate with consumers in highly emotional situations, and the brand and corporate image are enhanced by associations with positive experiences. In addition, sports sponsorship also has the ultimate goal of having an impact on net income by increasing sales and profits.
We, as part of the international brand Parimatch, exchange expertise with global companies to bring experience to our country and develop sports marketing, both in our company and with our partners. It is these partnerships that allow us to enter new markets and develop our online platform pm.ua.
CasinoBeats: Oleksandr Usyk recently became Parimatch’s Responsible Gambling Project ambassador. What does that role involve and what benefits do you expect to see from having the world heavyweight champion as a spokesman on such an important issue?
NH: The launch of the communication and educational platform ‘Responsible Gambling: Heart for Support – Brain for the Game!‘ is a part of the global development strategy of Parimatch. In partnership with ambassadors for responsible gambling, the company will continue to build a culture of gambling entertainment and raise awareness among players. In addition, the company plans to develop technical tools for monitoring and helping players through artificial intelligence.
The first ambassador of the direction will be the absolute world heavyweight boxing champion and gold medalist of the 2012 Olympics Oleksandr Usyk. The boxer’s path to victory is through intense training and a clear plan for each fight. This is what allows him not only to enjoy victories, but also to enjoy boxing itself. Everything is just like in the game!
CasinoBeats: What will Parimatch’s commitment to responsible gambling mean for players? And given the company’s high-tech approach to business, what kind of role could new technology play in identifying and helping players at risk of becoming problem gamblers?
NH: Licensed operators are like the architects of the industry who shape the culture of entertainment, its image and reputation, and change the perception of gambling: from a way of making money to receiving emotions. Understanding that the game is entertainment, the opportunity to diversify their leisure time, to build the spirit of competition, the players will not be too upset if they lose.
It is not profitable for legal companies for the user to gamble the last money they have or borrow. A person should understand how much he or she is willing to spend on this kind of entertainment. It is important to protect the player from rash decisions and actions.
The status of the first and only licensed bookmaker in Ukraine requires Parimatch Ukraine to be responsible, first of all, to thousands of our players. Our business ideology is built precisely on the principles and values of responsible gambling. It is important for us that the game on the pm.ua platform brings exceptionally positive emotions and pleasure.