Kindred Group generated 3.3% of its revenue from high-risk players in Q3 2023, a quarter-on-quarter increase of 0.2 percentage points.
Through its Journey towards Zero initiative, the Stockholm-listed operator has set itself a goal to eliminate revenue generated from harmful gambling behaviour.
The operator publishes relevant statistics each quarter to measure its progress. Kindred is set to publish its full Q3 financial results on 29 November.
As well as measuring its share of revenue coming from harmful gambling, the Unibet owner also measures the rate of improvement among high-risk customers after the business has intervened with them in some way.
In Q3, the rate of improvement among high-risk gamblers after interventions reached 86.7%, an all-time high figure for the metric since Kindred began publishing the stats back in 2021.
It also represents a sequential improvement of 0.3% and an annual uptick of 2.4%.
Kindred said the improvement was driven by the rollout of automated interventions and enhanced features across the company’s safer gambling toolkit.
“The data for 2023 indicates that while the trend is consistent, more needs to be done,” said Kindred Group in a press release accompanying the progress update.
“While Kindred continues to work actively to achieve a safer gambling experience for all customers, it also recognises that further steps need to be taken to establish a long-term sustainable industry across all markets.”
Kindred’s Journey towards Zero is designed to increase transparency, support a fact-based dialogue about harmful gambling, and to raise awareness of the firm’s sustainability work.
Last year, Kindred Group teamed up with fellow Swedish operators Svenska Spel and ATG to publish further data about dangerous gambling behaviour among their customers.
Kindred Group generated 3.1% of its revenue from high-risk players in Q2 2023, a quarter-on-quarter reduction of 0.2 percentage points.
Through its Journey towards Zero initiative, Kindred has set itself the goal of eliminating revenue generated from harmful gambling, and publishes relevant statistics each quarter to measure its progress.
As well as measuring its share of revenue coming from harmful gambling, Kindred also measures the rate of improvement among high-risk customers after the business has intervened with them in some way.
In Q2, the rate of improvement among high-risk gamblers after interventions reached 86.4%, an all-time high figure for the metric since Kindred began publishing these statistics in 2021.
The figure has been steadily increasing over the past several quarters, from 82.1% in Q4 2022 to 83% in Q1 2023, and finally as high as 86.4% in the latest quarter.
“Our ‘Journey towards Zero’ ambition is an important parameter for Kindred and our ability to contribute towards a fact-based dialogue on how to establish a more sustainable gambling industry,” said Kindred Group interim CEO Nils Andén.
“It also acts as a fundamental metric in Kindred’s internal efforts to improve our responsible gambling efforts. We have always been clear that we will not achieve this ambition overnight.
“Collaboration across industry stakeholders remains a critical success factor, such as our collaboration with the Swedish treatment centre Spelfriheten where we address harmful gambling by combining our complementary expertise towards a common goal,” Andén concluded.
In addition to releasing the latest figures from Q2, Kindred has today (24 July) also updated some of its previously published statistics.
In Q4 2022, for example, while the share of revenue from high-risk players was previously reported as 3.3%, the rate was in fact 3.5%, per a clarification published by the operator today.
The share of high-risk revenue generated in Q1 2023, previously reported as 3.0%, was in fact 3.3%, Kindred added.
The operator said the inaccurate numbers were initially reported due to a miscalculation caused by a data handling error.
Kindred Group’s share of revenue from harmful gambling has decreased to 3% in Q1 2023, down from 3.3% in Q4 2022.
During the quarter, 83% of detected customers saw improved gambling behaviour after Kindred’s responsible gambling team intervened.
This figure represents a small improvement from the previous quarter, when it stood at 82.1%.
Kindred pledged in February 2021 to target zero revenue from harmful gambling by the end of 2023.
However, the company acknowledged that the journey towards this goal has proven to be more challenging and lengthier than anticipated, despite continuing efforts to make progress.
“We have continuously emphasised the importance of detecting and engaging with our customers who are showing markers of harm,” said Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström.
“To prevent harmful behaviour, early intervention is critical, and I am glad that we can see the results of the roll-out of automated interventions that we have done in some of our markets,” he added.
Tjärnström went on to stress the importance of a holistic approach and collaboration across different teams within Kindred.
“Responsible gambling is not a factor only for one team, but it is something that every single employee contributes to through their knowledge and commitment to reducing harmful revenue.
“By our tech teams working hand in hand with the responsible gambling and customer facing teams, we can swiftly release improved interventions across different markets. All in line with our Journey towards Zero road map,” Tjärnström concluded.
Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström: “To prevent harmful behaviour, early intervention is critical.”
In autumn 2022, Swedish operators Svenska Spel and ATG also agreed to publish key metrics on their work in responsible gambling every six months to the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA).
However, Kindred has also faced criticism for the zero per cent target.
During last year’s iGaming NEXT Valletta event, the ambition was deemed both unrealistic and unachievable by Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson operations.
Update 24 July, 2023: According to a correction published by Kindred Group, some of the data in this article was inaccurate at the time of publication. The rate of revenue from high-risk players in Q1 2023 was found to be 3.3%, not 3.0%. The original content of this article remains unchanged.
Kindred Group stands firm by its commitment to achieve zero revenue from harmful gambling, but has admitted the journey is longer and more challenging than initially expected.
In Q4 2022, Kindred’s share of revenue from harmful gambling decreased to 3.3% from 3.8% in Q3.
This is a positive deviation from the trend, as the last quarter of the year generally sees an increase in high-risk gambling due to the holiday season, according to the operator.
In February 2021, Kindred committed to its ambition to reach zero revenue from harmful gambling by the end of 2023.
“While improvements continue to be made, the journey is longer and more challenging than first expected,” Kindred said.
By comparison, the share of revenue from harmful gambling was 4% in Q4 of last year.
The operator said the decrease was due to an improved approach towards the younger demographic, reducing harmful gambling and improving existing interventions, resulting in fewer faulty customer detections.
In Q4, 82.1% of detected customers saw improved gambling behaviour after contact was made by Kindred’s responsible gambling team.
No quick solution
Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström commented: “I’m glad to see that the share of revenue from harmful gambling is once again on a downward trajectory.
“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.”
He added that although the operator has put in a lot of hard work, it did not see the development needed to deliver on its 2023 ambition.
Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström: “We have known from the beginning that we would not solve this overnight and continue to acknowledge the complexity of the task.”
Last year, the validity of Kindred’s objective to eliminate revenue from harmful gambling was challenged by Betsson CEO Jesper Svensson.
He pointed out that studies have shown that roughly 2% of the population in most countries have a gambling addiction, thus rendering a target of zero percent unrealistic.
Tjärnström said: “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”, he added.
Tjärnström also highlighted that Kindred’s ambition has inspired other companies to become more transparent on this topic.
In autumn 2022 Kindred, Svenska Spel and horse betting operator ATG all agreed to publish key metrics on their work in responsible gambling every six months to the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA).
All three companies publicly disclosed joint responsible gambling data in January 2023.
To support its ambition, Kindred has formed the journey towards zero panel – a pilot project being driven by its team in the United Kingdom.
The panel is made up of a diverse range of expert organisations. Initial members include BetKnowMore, DealMeOut and EPIC Risk Management.
Kindred’s former head of responsible gambling, Maris Catania, also joined the panel as Kindred’s adviser on responsible gambling.
The panel aims to serve as a platform for discussions and recommendations on how to improve progress towards zero.
“EPIC have been working with Kindred for some years now and recently extended that partnership to provide expert insight and consultation to help their journey towards zero,” said Daniel Spencer, director of safer gambling at EPIC Risk Management.
“We want operators to be ambitious in their safer gambling endeavours and encourage collaboration across the industry to achieve this.”
In its first iteration, the panel will host a number of focus groups and workshops with panellists to hear their views on how best to reach Kindred’s ambition.
Moreover, the panel will also assess Kindred’s Player Safety Early Detection System, the operator’s in-house detection system that flags players who may be at risk of gambling related harm, to understand areas for improvement and further collaboration.
Update 24 July, 2023: According to a correction published by Kindred Group, some of the data in this article was inaccurate at the time of publication. The rate of revenue from high-risk players in Q2 2022 was found to be 3.5%, not 3.3%. The original content of this article remains unchanged.
Kindred’s head of responsible gaming and research Maris Catania has left the operator after more than 13 years.
Catania, who held various RG-related roles throughout the years, has been replaced by Esther Scheepers.
Catania wrote on LinkedIn that throughout the past 13 years she has seen RG evolve “from a non-existent necessary evil to an area on the top of the agenda”, although “more work is always needed”, she added.
Catania said she has decided to establish a consultancy business focused on responsible gambling. “Of course, I will always be grateful for Kindred for all the opportunities they have given me, and I will still work with the company to continue on several projects especially research ones.
“I just feel that after all these years, I want to expand my knowledge to other areas and hopefully help others through RG research and RG initiatives,” she said.
Catania joined Kindred in 2009 as fraud analyst before taking on the role of responsible gaming manager in 2011.
In 2015, she became integrity analytics manager, while in 2019 she was promoted to head of responsible gaming and research.
Catania has been instrumental in shaping Kindred’s “journey to zero”, the operator’s initiative to reach zero revenue from harmful gambling by 2023.
According to Q3 2022 figures, 3.8% of Kindred’s revenue was derived from the harmful gambling behaviour of its consumers.
Scheepers, meanwhile, is an experienced RG professional herself and has been with Kindred for more than 10 years.
She was previously responsible for Kindred’s Player Safety Early Detection System, the operator’s in-house early detection system that flags players that may be at risk for gambling related harm.
Kindred has reinforced its zero revenue from harmful gambling ambition by funding the localisation of website blocking software Gamban for the French market.
Players can use the independent online gambling blocking software on the operator’s Unibet brand from 10 November in addition to its own responsible gambling tools.
Kindred financed the development and localisation of the software, which previously had not been available in France.
Even though it was possible to self-exclude or be banned from the 17 licensed operators in France, Kindred said Gamban provided a much wider coverage, allowing players to block more than 60,000 online gambling sites, including unlicensed operators.
Mathieu Drida, Kindred general manager for France, commented: “At Kindred, we want gambling to remain a fun source of entertainment. As an online gambling operator, we take our responsibility towards our players very seriously and want to provide them with the most effective support tools on the market.
Gamban VP Stephen Aupy: “Kindred’s voluntary commitment to offer Gamban for free in France means accessible blocking software can further protect those harmed by gambling from unlicensed operators outside the scope of regulation.”
“This is what the partnership between Unibet and Gamban is all about, and we encourage all gambling operators to adopt this solution in order to make it more widely available in France,” Drida added.
The independent online gambling blocking software Gamban was designed for players in a situation of loss of control to offer them a solution to block online gambling sites on all personal devices.
It is regarded as one of the most effective tools to help problem gamblers stay in control.
Stephen Aupy, Gamban vice president of partnerships, said: “We are very excited to be assisting Kindred on their journey to derive 0% revenue from harmful gambling.
“Kindred’s voluntary commitment to offer Gamban for free in France means accessible blocking software can further protect those harmed by gambling from unlicensed operators outside the scope of regulation.
“Kindred’s commitment to best practice has led to them choosing Gamban to partner with, which illustrates the reliability of our solution to protect players and work toward the sustainability of the industry,” he added.
Kindred Group has revealed that 3.8% of its Q3 2022 revenue was derived from the harmful gambling behaviour of its consumers, a 0.5% rise on the previous quarter.
In Q2 2022, high-risk players accounted for 3.3% of Kindred’s gross winnings revenue (GWR).
Kindred’s ambition to reach zero revenue from harmful gambling by 2023 has recently come under fire.
Betsson CEO Jesper Svensson argued that research has shown that around 2% of the population in most countries suffer with a gambling addiction and that zero percent is therefore an unrealistic target.
Moreover, the Stockholm-listed operator revealed the improvement effect after interventions decreased from 84.7% in Q2 to 82.6% in Q3.
Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström said: “We have not seen a desired sequential development this quarter, however we have taken significant steps forward since launching our ambition in 2021.
“We have strengthened internal processes and aligned operations to continue our journey towards zero revenue from harmful gambling.
“We will continue to improve our technology and processes so that we increase our efficiency and speed in detecting and engaging with customers at risk. We know this has a positive effect,” he added.
Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström: “We have not seen a desired sequential development this quarter, however we have taken significant steps forward since launching our ambition in 2021.”
Kindred admitted that reaching the ambition by the end of the fourth quarter next year “is challenging”. However, the operator revealed that it has identified four critical areas for improvement.
First, Kindred said it aims to shorten the time from detection to intervention as it was proven that “raising awareness to customers early on is an effective way to stay in control”.
In addition, the operator wants to continue investing in collaboration with researchers to further understand gambling behaviours, as well as ensuring control tools are visible, understood and used in the right way.
Moreover, Kindred pledged to improve “transparency and knowledge sharing within the industry, customers, researchers, regulators and partners”.
In Q3, Kindred has once again partnered with EPIC Risk Management to analyse and improve human intervention mechanisms.
EPIC Risk Management is a problem gambling awareness and harm minimisation organisation in the UK and the US, which offers first-hand experience of gambling-related harm, as well as expert advice on how it can be prevented.
Through the collaboration, Kindred aims to ensure that manual interventions are better placed and customers are motivated to adopt a healthier betting behaviour.
“I am delighted to be renewing and extending our partnership with Kindred over the next three years,” said Dan Spencer, director of safer gambling at EPIC Risk Management.
He pointed out that Kindred was the first operator that EPIC worked with and highlighted that Kindred has shown great ambition in reducing revenue from high-risk players.
Kindred CEO Tjärnström added: “We are on a long-term journey and our commitment goes beyond the end of 2023, but collaborations here and now like the one with EPIC are crucial for our future progress.
“They provide unique insights from which we can learn the best approach to manage gambling related harm from an individual perspective.
“We have always emphasised how important our work with stakeholders from research, treatment centres, and lived experience is.
“The collaboration with EPIC continues to highlight how these collaborations can help us reach our customers in a better way. I am grateful and proud to have this long-term collaboration with EPIC Risk Management,” Tjärnström concluded.
Kindred Group will report its Q3 2022 financial results in full on 27 October.