Ex-Basketball Player Elbakjans Will Talk About Street Sports at SBC Summit in Tbilisi

Raimonds Elbakjans, former basketball player from Latvia and an evangelist of the youth culture and street sports project Ghetto Games, will talk about the unlimited perspectives that street sports provide at an exclusive presentation at the upcoming Summit SBC Tbilisi.

Raimonds Elbakjans’ presentation on “The Untapped Potential of Street Sports” will be a highlight at the Innovation Stage conference, which will be held as part of the main day of the SBC Summit at the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace Hotel in Georgia from October 23 to 24. This flagship event covers online gaming and sports betting for Georgia as well as neighboring regions including Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Balkans.

With rising global inflation and financial difficulties for residents of socially vulnerable regions, access to sports is increasingly limited by financial and social barriers. Organizations such as Ghetto Games actively combat these social inequalities by providing opportunities for youth and those living in vulnerable areas to engage in a variety of sports.

With the ongoing global economic crisis and the growing popularity of street sports, the purpose of this presentation is to examine the opportunities that street sports present to betting operators. It will also explore the needs of youth movements, aiming to pave the way for mutually beneficial partnerships.

Raimonds Elbakjans commented: “When examining societal challenges, especially in underprivileged areas, we find that municipalities and taxpayers are currently bearing the brunt. Many municipalities lack the means to address these issues effectively. If service providers genuinely embraced their responsibilities and invested significantly in the community, their contributions would go beyond mere advertisements. Such involvement would greatly benefit the youth and the wider community. If young individuals are adversely affected by services like sports betting, they might seek other addictive outlets. There’s an opportunity here for profound societal benefit by building real-world infrastructures and funding initiatives that engage the youth in sports today.”

Elbakjans began his sports career at the age of 8, playing for the team of the Riga Youth Sports School “Ridzene”.

In 2003, he made an important step by moving to BK Ventspils. He also played for the Latvian Under-18 men’s team, but was forced to retire from his career in 2005 due to unexpected health problems.

In 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis, the former basketball player founded Ghetto Games. The organization was created with the aim of using sport as a means of supporting young people living in the most socially vulnerable areas of Riga. Ghetto Games has become a transformative platform where people can express their individuality through football, basketball, floorball and other sports, promoting their physical and spiritual development.

Under Elbakjans’ leadership, Ghetto Games has become a key force in the transformation of street sports. He managed an organization that flourished, competing in successful European tournaments and establishing partnerships with the world’s leading football leagues, including La Liga. Under his leadership, Ghetto Games expanded its operations across four continents and 25 countries.

Rasmus Sojmark, CEO and Founder of SBC added: “Raimonds Elbakjans’ outstanding accomplishments, not only in the realm of sports but also in his impactful work with Ghetto Games and its positive influence on youth, are truly remarkable. He exemplifies the dual role of an athlete and an innovator in every sense. His speech promises to be a must-watch for those interested in harnessing the possibilities presented by street sports and their potential impact on the sports betting industry.”

Discussions at the Innovation Stage conference will also address the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), revolutionary payment solutions, technologies transforming marketing, and other relevant topics. 

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