Unibet Operator Kindred Secures Market Access in California, Arizona for Sports Betting, iGaming

  • Kindred secured a ten-year deal with the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation
  • The deal includes online and retail sports betting and iGaming, with an option for an extension
  • Kindred saw revenue grow 24% for the full-year 2020; US markets contributed £23.8m ($33m)
  • The UK-based operator intends to generate zero revenue from harmful gambling by 2023
Unibet logo on phone screen in pocket
Kindred Group has secured market access into California and Arizona for its Unibet-branded iGaming and sports betting offerings. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Two states with high potential

Kindred Group-owned sportsbook brand Unibet will continue its expansion in the US after securing market access deals in California and Arizona.

In a Tuesday statement, Kindred announced a new partnership with the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation. The ten-year deal includes both online and retail sports betting in addition to online gaming. The partners have the option to extend their agreement after the initial term.

securing early access to these two key states put us in a great position”

Commenting on the new partnership, Manuel Stan, senior vice president US for Kindred Group, described the company’s excitement in “going west.” He said: “Securing early access to these two key states put us in a great position to prepare a successful launch.”

Stan also noted California’s and Arizona’s expected annual sports betting revenues of $2bn and $200m, respectively.

Unibet’s launch is contingent on the passing of sports betting and iGaming legislation in both states. Kindred believes Arizona will be the first to introduce such legislation at some point in 2021.

Building on 2020 growth

Kindred posted its fourth quarter 2020 revenue results on Wednesday. The operator saw significant growth, despite CEO Henrik Tjärnström describing it as a “difficult year.”

Q4 revenue increased by 54% year-on-year to £364.7m ($503.9m), while underlying EBITDA also grew by 284% to a total of £118m ($163.4m). Kindred’s full-year revenue reached £1.13bn ($1.57bn) in 2020, an increase of 24% from 2019 levels. Underlying EBITDA totaled £286.8m ($397.2m) for the same period, up 121%, while profit before tax amounted to £193.1m ($267.5m), a rise of 188%.

the number of active Kindred customers increased by 11% last year

Tjärnström attributed some of this growth to an expanded presence in the US. The market contributed £23.8m ($33m) of Kindred’s full-year revenue for 2020. The number of active Kindred customers increased by 11% last year, to a total of 1.8 million. Kindred said it intends to continue this expansion with launches in both Illinois and Iowa during 2021.

Committed to safer gambling

On Sunday, Kindred announced a new mission. The Unibet operator intends to generate zero revenue from harmful gambling by 2023. As part of this commitment, the UK-based company said it will be the first gambling operator to report its percentage of revenue derived from high-risk players and those showing signs of problem gambling.

The operator will publish the data to its website, updating the information regularly. In a statement, Kindred said: “We want to be able to measure and benchmark against our ambitions as well as show an example to the wider industry that will potentially and hopefully follow suit.”

Kindred’s commitment to safer gambling comes with the spotlight very much focused on responsible gambling efforts in the UK. The UK Gambling Commission is currently conducting a review of its rules regarding affordability checks. Meanwhile, MPs are in the midst of assessing the market’s Gambling Act 2005, which dictates the UK’s gambling regulation.