Kindred calls for ‘a healthy debate based on facts and evidence’

In February 2021, we reported on the decision by Kindred Group – in pursuit of its ambition that zero per cent of the revenue from its platform is generated from harmful gambling by 2023 – to publish its assessment of the proportion of gross winnings it has derived from high-risk players.

Now, as publication of the Gambling Act Review White Paper draws closer, on 18 February 2022 Kindred has published an open letter to Peers for Gambling Reform and the APPG on Gambling Related Harm (two of the most outspoken critics of the UK gambling industry), a copy of which you can download below. This follows shortly after Kindred reported that just over 4% of its gross winnings came from high-risk players during the most recent financial quarter.

Commenting on this open letter, Kindred has said:

Almost half of all British adults engage in some form of gambling. It is a popular pastime for millions, forming part of their entertainment budget for the month – competing with the purchase of films, movies and other entertainment. But despite this, there are persistent attempts to stigmatise the activity – predominantly through inaccurate data and evidence.

Kindred took the decision in 2021 to reveal the amount of revenue derived from players exhibiting high-risk behaviours. We are clear that a healthy debate based on facts and evidence is what is required to improve outcomes for those who do have problems with their gambling. By ensuring we all use accurate data and information in the public debate, we can achieve that.

Its above-mentioned open letter reads as follows:

We all want an evidence-based debate on gambling. At Kindred, we’re opening our books even further to aid that conversation.

Gambling companies have clear financial incentives to prevent harm and claims of an exploitative business model fundamentally misunderstand the economics of listed gambling operators. That is why the claim that 60%+ of profits come from the 5% of gamblers at risk of harm is inaccurate and its continued use in the public debate – including in an article in the Times Red Box just this week – limits the ability for us all to have a constructive conversation.

To ensure we have a healthy debate based on facts and evidence, in 2021 Kindred took the decision – as part of our strategy to reach zero per cent of our revenue derived from harmful gambling by 2023 – to become the first gambling operator to open its books and reveal the amount of revenue derived from players exhibiting high risk behaviours.

And last week, we decided to go one step further by releasing specific data from our UK market to ensure the debate we collectively have ahead of the Government’s White Paper is accurate.

At a Group level, around 4% of revenue comes from high risk players. And our new data shows that for 2021, Kindred’s revenue derived from players exhibiting high-risk behaviours in the UK fell at a rate of 16%.

Our data also shows that the risk profile of revenue on higher spending accounts is significantly lower than the risk profile of lower spending accounts, indicating that the narrative of higher levels of spend automatically equating to higher levels of harm is not accurate.

Our data also indicates that tailoring measures according to risk profile (rather than applying blanket fixed measures) helps ensure low risk customers are not needlessly pushed outside safer licensed environments. Working with partners on affordability, Kindred Group has been able to reduce the revenue from potentially financially vulnerable accounts to below 1%.

While we devote significant resources and effort towards improving our tools for identifying and helping potential problem gamblers, we are clear that our journey is not yet complete. As a technology-oriented gambling company, we see great potential in AI technology and big data for improving the safety of our offerings. Our technology assesses risk in real time using data proxies for DSM-5 indicators of harm, ensuring that the classification is based on behaviour as well as financial indicators.

Through our Player Safety Early Detection System – built on utilising data and technology from over 25 data points, we trigger interactions with a customer once risk increases. The higher the risk, the more substantial the interaction. The data we have released shows that 4 in 5 of our customers showed an improved behaviour after our intervention. Now our eyes are set on the last fifth.

But we must work collectively to reach our shared goal of reducing harmful gambling in the UK. By using the latest in tech as a business, we are seeing encouraging progress in identifying problematic behaviour and stopping it in its tracks. This should be our collective focus.

At Kindred, we are clear that a healthy debate based on facts and evidence is what is required to improve outcomes for those who do have problems with their gambling. By ensuring we all use accurate data and information in the public debate, we can achieve that. If you would like to understand more about our data and our technology-led approach to eradicating problem gambling, we’d be happy to discuss further.

Kind regards,

Neil Banbury

UK General Manager, Kindred Group

Download article PDF: Kindred Group Open letter 18.02.22