Quarterly Report States Kindred Group's Share of Revenue from High-Risk Bettors Declined

Although Kindred Group saw a decline from 3.8% in Q3 to 3.3% in Q4, the company still has plenty of work to do to minimalize high-risk players.

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2023 6:52 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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Kindred Group announced today that its share of revenue from high-risk bettors has declined to 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022, down from 3.8% in Q3.

Kindred, which is the parent company of legal sports betting operator Unibet, regards this as a positive signal given that the last three months of the year normally see an upswing in high-risk gaming action due to the Christmas season.

Kindred attributed the slight decrease in problem gaming revenue share to its improved intervention strategy with respect to younger bettors, which has led to a reduction in high-risk wagering and a corresponding decrease in identifying problem customers.

However, the result is generally disappointing given that the proportion of revenue generated by high-risk players in Q4 2022 stood at 4%.  The latest quarterly figure of 3.3% also falls far short of Kindred's previously stated commitment to reduce its high-risk wagering revenue to zero.

"I'm glad to see that the share of revenue from harmful gambling is once again on a downward trajectory," said Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström.

In an official statement released on Monday, Kindred reported that it has been working steadily to lower "high-risk" betting, its preferred term for what U.S. sports betting sites refer to as problem gaming, 

But despite the operator's insistence that improvements have been made, Kindred described the process as being "longer and more challenging" than anticipated.

"However, as we review the trend over these past two years, it is clear that there is still significant fluctuation and that the curve has not been as steadily declining as we hoped. While we have put in a lot of hard work, we have not seen the development needed to deliver on our 2023 ambition (of 0%)."

"Despite this, we remain firmly committed to our Journey towards zero, and to do the heavy lifting needed to reach this ambition. We have known from the beginning that we would not solve this overnight and continue to acknowledge the complexity of the task. That being said, we are very happy that we set an ambitious goal, as it has served as a catalyst for our development and prompted us to pick up the pace."

Trying to strike a positive note, Kindred cited encouraging Q4 data which revealed that 82.1% of detected customers showed improved gaming behavior after contact was initiated by Kindred’s responsible gambling unit.

Sadly, this figure is still lower than the 82.6% improvement reported in Q3, 84.7% in Q2, and 83.1% in Q1.

Advisory board established

As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing high-risk betting behavior, Kindred also announced that it had formed the "Journey Towards Zero Panel," a pilot project led by its UK Unibet team.

This advisory board will consist of experts in the field that include BetKnowMore, DealMeOut, and EPIC Risk Management. Maris Catania, Advisor on Responsible Gambling at Kindred Group, will also serve on the Panel.

"The Panel will not only ensure that Kindred stays on track with its Journey towards Zero by taking expert advice and guidance from members of the Panel, but it will also serve as a platform for discussions and recommendations on how to improve progress towards Zero," read the statement from Kindred. 

The operator's press release also cited remarks made by Daniel Spencer, Director of Safer Gambling at EPIC Risk Management regarding the creation of the Panel.

"We want operators to be ambitious in their safer gambling endeavors and encourage collaboration across the industry to achieve this. We are delighted to be able to provide this further consumer insight that ultimately will lead to better player protection," said Spencer. 

AGA paving the path

The increased vigilance that Kindred is taking towards the issue of high-risk gaming follows in the footsteps of the American Gaming Association's efforts to encourage U.S. legal sports betting to monitor such behavior.

In September, the AGA organized Responsible Gaming Education Month during which the largest U.S. sportsbooks issued a 12-point pledge to establish an "industry standard" to govern measures intended to mitigate problem gaming. This declaration included the adoption of a nationwide call center, research funding, and the elaboration on responsibility.

U.S. pushing for responsible gaming

The major U.S. online sportsbook operators have all launched various initiatives as part of the effort to curb problem gaming.  These measures are imperative in the wake of blanket sportsbook ads that regularly promote risk-free bets and other promotional offers on nationwide TV broadcasts. 

In the first nine months of 2022, U.S. online sports betting sites purchased over $250 million in national TV ads — quadruple the amount spent in 2020 — according to figures provided by iSpot.tv.  

As a result, the major sportsbooks have been obliged to take a proactive approach to the kind of high-risk wagering activity that Kindred is taking head-on and fend off any effort by federal or state lawmakers to impose stricter regulations governing OSB advertising and promotional offerings.

FanDuel, the largest U.S. sportsbook by GGR share, runs a "Play Well" site that provides its customers with responsible gaming tools to help manage their online casino and sports betting activity.

In addition, the gaming colossus has assembled a 100-person team of Compliance and Responsible Gaming experts to improve its product offering by applying technological, marketing, and analytics tools to reduce problem gaming.

In September 2022, DraftKings (the second-largest operator in the U.S.) signed superstar skateboarder Tony Hawk as the campaign spokesman for its "Practice Safe Bets" campaign.

DraftKings also hired pro wrestler The Miz to headline a series of TV and radio spots to promote responsible gaming.  The company said it is committed to underscoring "the importance of engaging in responsible gaming, including setting limits on play by using the responsible gaming tools available on the DraftKings app."

Meanwhile, third-place U.S. operator BetMGM operates a leading program called GameSense, developed and licensed to MGM Resorts by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, which encourages responsible gaming as part of its online and desktop sports betting apps.

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