Unibet is one of Europe’s largest online gambling and sports betting operators. In 2016, the company changed its name to Kindred Group Plc, although it still operates various online casino, online poker, online bingo, and sports betting verticals under the Unibet brand.
Now, its making plans to bring online casino and sports betting products to New Jersey.
In July 2018, Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström indicated the company had plans to move into the New Jersey sports betting market under the Unibet name. However, he also expressed an interest in the New Jersey online casino and online poker markets. He also has his eye on emerging US sports betting markets in other states moving ahead with legalization.
In the months that followed, Kindred inked several deals and inched closer toward launching Unibet sports betting and an NJ online casino.
What started in a London apartment
Anders Ström founded Unibet in his London apartment back in 1997 and became its first CEO. In fact, the company procured its first gaming license in the UK in 1998, allowing it to take bets over the phone.
Unibet’s first website launched a year later, and by 2002, it boasted 200,000 registered customers in more than 80 countries around the world. Additionally, the company continued to grow exponentially and it went public in 2004. Today, it is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange in Sweden.
The company is registered in Malta. However, it also has offices in Gibraltar, London, and Stockholm. Plus, satellite offices across Europe and Australia.
Kindred Group revenue
In 2017, Kindred Group reported revenue of approximately $985 million.
In 2018, Kindred Group claimed to provide online gambling and sports betting services to close to 16 million customers in 20 languages and more than 100 countries. Moreover, it’s various online gambling subsidiaries and brands include:
- 32Red Online Casino
- Bohemia Casino
- Maria Casino
- Roxy Palace
- Stan James Online
- Unibet (Casino, Poker, Bingo, Sports Betting)
- Vlad Cazino
The company reported in July 2018 that its online poker vertical is growing at double-digit rates. Additionally, it now claims to have the fastest-growing licensed poker network in the industry.
Much of its recent success may be due to the growing popularity of its Unibet Open live events. Unibet has developed a reputation for inviting unique guests and running various cross-promotions to try to attract players to the events.
In fact, Molly Bloom will soon be a part of that. A former Hollywood high stakes home game host, Bloom penned the 2014 memoir “Molly’s Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World!”
The book was adapted into the Aaron Sorkin written and directed film “Molly’s Game in 2017. Now, Bloom will apparently be a guest at the August 2018 Unibet Open in Bucharest, Romania.
Unibet Poker left the Microgaming network in 2014 launching its own proprietary online poker platform. The room has gained in popularity due to a focus on recreational players that includes banning HUDs and other software often employed by exploitative professional players.
Most of Kindred’s brands and subsidiaries are focused on the Nordic and Eastern European markets.
Kindred Group eyes NJ sports betting market
However, in the company’s second quarter 2018 earnings call held in July, executives indicated Kindred Group had designs on entering the NJ sports betting market.
Very few details about that entry were released. However, Tjärnström outlined the potential the US sports betting market presents and said the company is looking for entry options and will start with the launch of online sports betting under its Unibet brand in New Jersey.
Additionally, company executives also discussed entry into emerging US online casino and online poker markets.
Kindred teams up with Hard Rock AC
Then, in August 2018, Kindred Group announced it had entered into an agreement with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
The agreement spans a decade and will mark the first foray for Kindred into the US online sports betting and online casino markets.
The agreement includes Kindred and Hard Rock Atlantic City pursuing a Casino Service Industry Enterprise License in New Jersey together.
Kindred US SVP Manuel Stan said the goal is for the pair to give New Jersey customers “an absolutely great sports betting and gaming experience.”
More Kindred partnerships
At the end of August 2018, Kindred announced it will also partner with Scientific Games to use its Open Platform System and Open Gaming System in New Jersey.
Specifically, Kindred will use Scientific’s SG Digital division as its technology partner in New Jersey. That means employing SG Digital’s Open Platform System player account management platform and Open Gaming System aggregation technology.
The aim is to eventually extend the partnership across the US as well.
Finally, Kindred agreed to terms with spinoff Kambi Group. This arrangement will extend its current agreement on sports betting products to also include New Jersey.
The addendum to the pair’s current agreement will give Kindred access to Kambi’s sports betting platform in New Jersey.
Kindred officials claim the two agreements allow it to offer NJ a full range of sports betting and casino products under the Unibet brand.
Kindred spin-off Kambi Group
Spin-off sports betting technology provider Kambi Group is already working with daily fantasy sports turned sports betting operator DraftKings in NJ. A DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app featuring Kambi software launched in August 2018.
Kambi also has partnerships in the US with 888 and Rush Street Interactive.
Rush Street runs the NJ online casino site SugarHouse online casino, connected to Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino. SugarHouse launched a sports betting platform integrated with its NJ online casino, using Kambi software, in August 2018. 888 launched the 888 Sport NJ online and mobile sports betting app with Kambi software in Septemeber 2018.
In the meantime, Tjärnström has also indicated the company is looking beyond just New Jersey. In fact, it is considering taking its Unibet brand into any other states that legalize sports wagering or online gambling in general:
“We fully appreciate that it’s unknown in the US market, but it has worked well in Europe and we believe it could work well in the US as well.”