Kindred Group’s sharing of safer gambling metrics sets a high bar

Yesterday (7 February 2021), Kindred Group published a press release, the content of which is likely to have far-reaching repercussions if, as we expect, the Gambling Commission will now (at least) encourage other UK-licensed gambling operators to adopt a similar approach in terms of identifying and reporting information relating to the the extent of their revenue that is derived from harmful gambling.

Re-stating Kindred’s ambition that zero per cent of the revenue from its platform is generated from harmful gambling by 2023, its press release (that you can download below) places its most recent assessment of share of gross winnings from high-risk players at 4.3%.

The press release reads as follows:

For many years, Kindred Group has pursued to providing a safe gambling experience, with the ambition that zero per cent of the revenue should come from harmful gambling by 2023. Kindred is the first gambling operator to report the share of revenue that is derived from harmful gambling. The figure will be shared together with a measurement of the efficiency of Kindred’s efforts to help detected customers regain control of their gambling. By providing these figures, Kindred wants to increase knowledge and transparency about the company’s sustainability work and contribute to a fact-based dialogue about harmful gambling with decision-makers and other stakeholders.

Providing a safe gambling experience is a central issue for Kindred Group, and approximately 98 per cent of the players on the company’s platforms gamble responsibly. As a next step in Kindred’s sustainability work, the company will from now on report the share of revenue that is derived from harmful gambling. The figure will be shared together with the achieved improvement effects from interventions that helps detected customers return to healthier gambling.

Global statistics from
Kindred Group
Q4 2020
Share of gross winnings revenue from high-risk players 4.3 %
Improvement effect after interventions 75.7 %

“Our ambition is that zero per cent of our share of revenue should come from harmful gambling, which we have worked towards for several years. We constantly strive to become even better at identifying players that exhibit risky gambling behaviour and guide them back to healthier gambling habits. We want gambling to be simple and enjoyable for everyone. Reducing harmful gambling in society is a long-term process which requires a fact-based, open, and constructive dialogue, not least with decision-makers. We want to contribute to that. The most important thing decision-makers can do right now is to reduce the flight to unlicensed gambling operators, who fail to provide players with any safety measures whatsoever. The so called channelisation must increase.”, says Henrik Tjärnström, CEO Kindred Group.

Several years ago, Kindred developed a safer gambling programme to achieve the zero per cent ambition by 2023. Key elements include:

  • Increased precision: Quicker and more accurate identification of potentially harmful gambling.
  • Improve support tools: Encourage and lead players who exhibit risky behaviours back towards healthier gambling.
  • Clearer communication: Implement automated communication with players to ensure rapid intervention when needed.

“In order to evaluate our own sustainability work and to counteract harmful gambling, we continuously measure how our efforts contribute to healthier gambling together with how much of our revenue that comes from harmful gambling. We want to share these figures to increase the understanding of our long-term sustainability work and contribute to a safer gambling experience. Local market regulation is an important part to achieve this”, continues Henrik Tjärnström.

Kindred’s figures on revenue from harmful gambling will be updated quarterly and published on Kindred Group’s website together with a measurement of the effectiveness of the sustainability work. To read more, visit: www.kindredgroup.com/zero.

We recommend that UK licensed operators interested in learning more also read the following insightful items on Kindred’s website, that it has been prepared to share:

UPDATE: In the following 9 February 2021 news item entitled “2021 And Beyond, Accountability Is What The Gambling Sector Needs More Of”, Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of the European Betting & Gaming Association (“EGBA”) has welcomed the above decision by Kindred to publish its assessment of the proportion of gross winnings derived from high-risk players:

Accountability is more than a word, it’s the key ingredient for a future-proof online gambling sector, writes Maarten Haijer

At EGBA we want betting to be enjoyable for everyone. After all, that’s why we do what we do. Our members sell entertainment, and we want people to have a good time. Most customers enjoy an occasional bet on the horses, their favourite football team or a hand of poker. But for some, gambling can be problematic, even harmful, and companies must do more to protect them.

That’s why I’m very pleased that our member Kindred Group recently took the initiative to publish the share of its revenues from customers who have a high-risk of gambling harm. Kindred derives 4% of its revenue from high-risk gamblers and has, importantly, committed to reducing this to zero by 2023. This is a really important initiative – for customers and the sector – and a big step forward in transparency and accountability.

When you look at their numbers, it’s clear that Kindred’s internal procedures for detecting and addressing problematic gambling behaviour are already delivering positive results: over 70% of the customers detected by Kindred’s Player Safety Early Detection System [1] positively changed their gambling behaviour upon detection and intervention from the company.

And it’s not just Kindred: all our member companies are doubling down on their efforts to promote safer gambling. Collectively, they’re communicating more than ever before about safer gambling. In fact, they made 1.2 million direct communications and interventions with their customers to promote safer gambling in 2019. This was a big step up and an increase of 50% from the year before.

A large part of their communication efforts was directing customers to the safer gambling tools which our members offer to their customers. These efforts worked: because 63% of their customers used safer gambling tools in 2019. This is more than ever before, and a marked increase from the previous year when just over a third, 37%, of their customers used these tools.

Our members also assist people to stop gambling if they need to. Self-exclusion is a vital safety net for those fearing or experiencing gambling harm and it enables them to stop. In response to self-exclusion requests, our members closed 800,000 customer accounts, temporarily or permanently, in 2019.

Our members are jointly putting their words into action and EGBA is committed to lead from the front, at a time when the online gambling sector is rightly under public scrutiny. Because there are still way too many companies in the sector who far too readily point the finger angrily at regulation and complain about it, without taking responsibility and providing solutions.

The sector needs to become much more mature in how it responds to society and it needs to do so quickly. This includes acknowledging that the sector is accountable for what it does and doesn’t do, and how it protects its customers, particularly those who need greater support. Otherwise, the future will look bleak, especially for those companies which continue to think that the best course of action to public scrutiny is to do nothing.

In 2021 and beyond, accountability is what we need more of.

[1] The Player Safety Early Detection System (PS-EDS) monitors customer behaviour to determine if there are signs of problematic gambling and allows the company to identify those who are at risk and to interact and help them with a range of tested support tools.