Unraveling Kindred Group's strategic exit from North America - a closer look

Kindred Group strategic exit from North America image

📖 Published on: November 29th, 2023

✍️ Updated: December 1st, 2023

⏳ 5 mins read

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In a surprising twist in the online gambling industry, Kindred Group has announced its departure from the North American market, a decision set to be finalized by the end of Q2 2024. This move, emerging from a strategic review initiated on April 26, 2023, signals a significant shift in the company's focus. But what's driving this decision, and what does it mean for the future of Kindred Group and the online gambling landscape?


Unibet's North American gamble - a tale of high hopes and hard realities

 

In a narrative that reads like a high-stakes poker game, Unibet, under the Kindred Group, made a bold play in the North American market, only to find the odds stacked against them. Operating in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, and Indiana, Unibet's foray into the US sports betting scene was a move marked by ambition. However, the reality was a stark contrast to their aspirations.

 

Despite the legal sports betting landscape in these states, Unibet's market share remained startlingly low. In Pennsylvania, a mere 0.8% of gross sports betting revenue was attributed to Unibet, a figure that speaks volumes about their struggle to carve out a significant niche. This wasn't just a one-off; it was a consistent theme across their North American operations.

 

Kindred Group tweet regarding exit from North America on X image

 

The financials paint a telling picture: a third-quarter gross winnings revenue of about $8 million from North America, down 11% year-over-year, and an EBITDA that plunged into the negatives. These numbers were a cold shower on Unibet's North American dream, revealing a harsh truth – the brand was unable to bridge the gap with the market leaders.

 

This led to Kindred Group's strategic retreat, a decision to withdraw from North America by the end of Q2 2024. It's a move that underscores the competitive ferocity of the market and the immense resources needed to stay afloat, let alone lead. The withdrawal is part of a larger strategy to refocus on core markets, a pivot that also involves cutting over 300 jobs and consultant positions in a bid to save around $50 million annually.

 

The story of Unibet in North America is more than a business decision; it's a reflection of the cutthroat nature of the gambling industry, where even well-established players can find the American market a tough nut to crack. It's a tale of ambition, challenge, and strategic recalibration, a reminder that in the gambling world, the house – or in this case, the market – always has the edge.


Behind the scenes of Kindred's strategic withdrawal

 

Peeling back the layers of Kindred Group's decision reveals a calculated strategy to reallocate resources. The company is not just stepping away from a geographical location; it's a deliberate pivot towards markets where they see untapped potential. This strategic withdrawal from North America is accompanied by a plan to enhance their presence in core markets through brand extensions and targeted marketing investments. It's a game of chess, with Kindred Group moving its pieces to where they believe the most significant opportunities lie.


The cost of refocusing - a necessary sacrifice?

 

Kindred's strategy isn't without its sacrifices. The company is undertaking a substantial cost reduction initiative, which includes the difficult decision to reduce its workforce by over 300 employees and consultants in 2024. This move, expected to save around GBP 40 million annually, raises questions about the balance between growth and the human cost of corporate decisions. Nils Andén, the Interim CEO, frames these actions as tough but essential steps towards securing the company's future in its core markets.


Reading between the lines

 

This strategic shift by Kindred Group opens up a series of probing questions:

  1. Market dynamics: what does Kindred Group's exit from North America reveal about the shifting sands of the global online gambling market?
  2. Strategic calculations: how will this realignment impact Kindred Group's position in the industry, and what does it say about their long-term vision?
  3. Ripple effects: could this decision signal a larger trend in the industry, potentially leading to a reshuffling of the global online gambling landscape?

A strategic gamble with high stakes

 

Kindred Group's decision to exit the North American market is more than a mere geographical retreat; it's a strategic realignment with far-reaching implications. This move, coupled with a significant cost reduction plan, highlights the company's adaptive strategy in an ever-changing industry. As the online gambling world continues to evolve, Kindred Group's actions could very well be a harbinger of future industry trends and strategic shifts. Only time will tell if this gamble pays off.

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