Don’t Bring A Pussycat To A Dog Fight, Kindred Flies Fevered US Market

The entrance of Big Dog ESPN BET into the fevered online US sports betting pit has prompted the flight of yet another putative online operator, Kindred’s Unibet platform, from the burning American market.

Following the recent pull-back of WynnBet, the digital avatar of land casino giants Wynn Resorts, Swedish-origin Kindred Group has now decided to pull its storied Unibet platform–which offers sports betting, online casino, bingo and poker–from North America by the middle of next year.

Because it’s backed by the vaunted commercial power of Walt Disney and digital expertise of Penn Entertainment, and packaged in the nation’s number one sports brand, all the players in the US sportsbook and iGaming market can feel the coming heat of the ESPN BET joint-venture.

But Kindred-–with Unibet active in Virginia, Iowa, Arizona, New Jersey and, since July, in Pennsylvania-–was already wilting under the blaze of current market leaders Flutter, DraftKings and BetMGM.

The Unibet platform, operating in America since September, 2021, never made any money – and now, according to highly-placed sources, may well be sold-off.

Job Cuts

Kindred’s decision to exit the US comes as the Stockholm Nasdaq-listed Omnichannel-–owners also of 32Red and Relax Gaming Ltd.–has seen the value of its shares fall by some 20 percent over the year.

Interim CEO Nils Andén, who took over from long-standing Henrik Tjärnström in May, has also decided to axe some 300 employees from the group’s 2,350 workforce.

“The competitive nature of the [US] market means significant resources are needed to close the gap to market leaders and at our current capacity this is untenable,” conceded Kindred Group in a statement released November 29.

“Continued US losses have placed undue pressure on the group’s long-term profitability targets.”

In the greater financial scheme of things, Kindred’s revenue from their US territories, which dropped 11 percent year-on-year to the equivalent of £6.4 million in Q3 this year, amounts to small pennies: Just to put things into perspective, FanDuel took US$891.9 million (£715.19m) in bets in New York State alone in October.

“It’s [regrettable] that valued colleagues will depart Kindred, and we will work hard to support individuals,” commiserated Andén.

“We can now focus our resources and tech capacity towards strategic initiatives and selected markets where we see clear potential to grow our market share.”

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