Kindred Group, the parent company if Unibet and 32Red among others, has revealed that 4.3% of its income was generated by high-risk gamblers last year.
Kindred is the first gambling operator to report what share of its revenue is derived from harmful gambling. It is aiming for 0% of its revenue to be generated by high-risk players by 2023.
The Malta-headquartered business said it shared the data in a bid to “increase knowledge and transparency” about its sustainability work and to “contribute to a fact-based dialogue” about harmful gambling.
It has pledged to report quarterly on progress towards this target, along with the data on the effectiveness of its sustainability work, which it reports as having been 75.7% effective in the latest release.
The firm claims that approximately 98% of the players on its platforms gamble responsibly.
Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström said: “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.”
His comments echo misgivings about some European legislation, particularly newer regimes such as in Sweden and Germany, where some stakeholders believe strict rules on betting and gaming may be to the detriment of channelisation.
Tjärnström added that local market regulation was an important part of reducing harmful gambling.
Kindred’s safer gambling programme includes finding ways to identify potentially harmful gambling more quickly and more accurately.
Rather than talking about permanent exclusion of such players, the firm refers to tools that will “encourage and lead” players who exhibit risky behaviours to return to healthier gambling habits.
The firm also highlighted “clearer communication” as a keystone of its strategy, saying it had implemented automated communication with players to ensure rapid intervention.
Kindred’s report comes as the UK, in particular, ramps up its player protection regulation. The Gambling Commission of Great Britain (GC) has added extra restrictions to online slots, which must be included in games by October 2021.
Many of the protections, such as a ban on auto-play options and spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds, were already agreed by members of the Betting & Gaming Council after a GC-led consultation in July 2020.
Other measures include banning features that speed up play or give the illusion of control over an outcome, removal of sounds or imagery that allude to a win when the outcome is in fact equal to or lower than the stake and banning reverse withdrawal functions. Games will also have to clearly display a player’s losses, wins and time played.