As the war on Ukraine continues, many major companies are pulling services from Russia as a sign of solidarity for the attacked country. Aligning with companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, online poker giant PokerStars is no longer offering services in Russia, showing their support for Ukraine.
PokerStars took to Twitter on March 9 to make the announcement. The decision was met with mixed results. It is unclear when players located in Russia will have access to online poker gaming again via the brand.
Halting Services in Russia
For PokerStars, the company will no longer provide gaming options to Russian players. The company joins a growing list of major brands that are no longer serving the country. McDonald’s has 850 restaurants in the country that are currently shut down as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine. Major car manufacturers like Toyota, Nissan, and General Motors have decided to stop exports.
PokerStars stopped online services and canceled an upcoming European Poker Tour event in Sochi. The stop was set to take place March 18-27. The event was originally postponed until October due to the war, but the provider eventually decided to cancel it altogether.
Once the announcement was made, poker players started posting on forums, calling for all poker events in Russia to be canceled. Many agreed and it seems that PokerStars has heeded the call, at least regarding the services they control.
Raising Money for Ukraine
In a separate sign of support, many in the gambling community have begun offering donations to help those in Ukraine as they seek refuge from the war-ridden country. A GoFundMe was created by people within the gambling industry in an attempt to provide relief.
Called Gaming Industry for Ukraine, the effort has a goal of £250,000 ($327,145) and already £193,887 ($253716) has been raised. The fundraiser provides direct support to Choose Love, a group that helps refugees in various capacities including food, lifesaving searches, rescue boats, and legal advice.
Large donations began pouring in as soon as the effort started. It is not uncommon for the gambling community to help out when disaster strikes. From poker players to gambling companies, the community as a whole are known for their giving nature.
In the poker world, tournaments are often hosted online and in land-based format to raise money for those in need. This is yet another example of how the community is coming together to provide resources as well as major companies pulling out of Russia to show support.