Business By The Books: Kindred Scaling Back US Sports Betting Investments

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Kindred is again tweaking its approach to the US sports betting market in order to cut EBITDA losses.

The parent of Unibet is decreasing its marketing spending in the US until its in-house sportsbook platform is ready to launch. That could be as soon as the coming weeks but will still be a meaningful amount of time, CEO Henrik Tjärnström said on Kindred’s interim trading call.

“We haven’t been completely satisfied with the return we’ve been getting prior to launching the platform,” Tjärnström said.

This move follows Kindred pulling the Unibet brand out of Iowa as it focuses on states with iGaming.

US cost Kindred $19M in Q4

Kindred reported $47.6 million in fourth-quarter EBITDA, though that would have been about $66 million without the losses from the US.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale factored into those losses, winning nearly $5 million from Unibet when the Houston Astros won the World Series. There was also an unfavorable mix “with a higher proportion of the revenue coming from lower margin markets,” the company said in its trading update.

Quarterly EBITDA grew 41.3% from the fourth quarter in 2021, but the results were still underwhelming according to Kindred. The company announced EBITDA should hit at least $244 million as long as sports betting margins remain around the average.

UNLV, Gaming Society partner to advance sports betting industry

Betting education platform Gaming Society and the International Gaming Institute at UNLV are partnering to “help shape the future of sports betting and gamification through industry data and insights.”

The partnership outlined some specific focus areas:

“We have aligned goals in exploring how betting can support the growth of women’s sports in a sustainable, responsible manner,” said Brett Abarbanel, executive director of the IGI. “We look forward to collaborating on this under-discussed area in our existing educational programs, including IGI’s International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking.”

Don’t call it BetFanatics

The BetFanatics brand is dead before it ever launched.

Fanatics will be using the Fanatics Sportsbook brand instead of the name that was trademarked by Fanatics last May. A company spokesperson, responding from an email domain, did not provide additional information about the change.

The first Fanatics Sportsbook is set to open at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, on Friday. A second and final testing day will run from noon to 8 pm Tuesday.

RSI extends with sports betting supplier Kambi

While most sportsbooks are looking to bring their sports betting tech in-house and cut third-party costs, Rush Street extended its agreement with Kambi.

Kambi powers BetRivers online sportsbooks in 15 states as well as Canada, Colombia and Mexico.

“RSI was the first US-based operator we partnered with post-PASPA, and it has been fantastic to witness RSI become one of the leading online gaming players in the Americas,” said Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén.