Occupying such an overwhelming part of everyday life worldwide, the role sport can play to influence society on a range of global issues is one often broached by many organisations.

Kindred Group is one such example, utilising its brands to spread safer gambling messages across a number of sports, as well as debuting its community initiative ‘Team Talks’ via 32Red’s Derby County sponsorship.

CasinoBeats spoke to Anna Jein, sustainability manager at Kindred Group, who gave an insight into the inner workings of the initiative: “Sponsors have a unique link to communities, places and people, and therefore a huge opportunity to make a difference. We can help support more than just the club’s performance on the pitch. And that is why we boosted our efforts earlier in 2019. 

“Through our 32Red brand, we launched a new model of football club sponsorship – one that means investing in the local community, as well as the club. Football clubs have a unique ability to leverage the power of football to engage supporters and improve lives. 

“So as part of the renewed terms of our sponsorship deal with Derby County, we announced a significant, yearlong investment in, and partnership with, Derby County’s Community Trust and their ‘Team Talk’ project. 

“Their model – and our investment into the scheme – means DCCT will now reach, and support, hundreds more men across Derby who are struggling with mental health problems through their innovative project.”

Before going on to address how important it is to utilise the power of sport to help drive awareness of a number of key issues, particularly with Responsible Gambling Week currently underway, and continuing this year-round: “We believe sport can be a tool for social development and drive positive change in society.

“Sponsors have a unique link to communities and therefore a huge opportunity to make a difference, and through sponsorships organisations can help support sports clubs to use their power to add value to local communities,” she says.

It is crucial that we as an industry have these tough conversations year-long”

“Our commitment to mental health stretches into horse racing too, where our Unibet brand has invested in the #GoRacingGreen campaign – a fantastic project that helps horse racing be accessible for those suffering from mental health issues. 

“And we have also recently expanded our responsible gambling strategy through our 32Red and Unibet brands in the UK. This initiative means that responsible gambling messages will dominate all matches where two 32Red teams play each other during the 2019/20 season. The initiative was launched during one of the biggest matches in world football – Rangers vs Celtic – where Rangers amended front of shirt logo carried ’32Red: Stay in Control’. 

“By using our assets to cut through effectively with sporting audiences, and promoting healthier gambling behaviour and advocating for control, we can work together with both our customers and wider society to make real progress in ensuring people gamble responsibly.”

Rolling out its responsible gambling messages year-round falls in line with a number of key industry comments during the past week, with Paul Buck, CEO of Epic Risk Management, stating yesterday: “There is really very little value in having RG Week if the initiatives and actions highlighted are not followed through for the following 12 months”.

“We see Responsible Gambling week as a catalyst for what we see now with more and more RG-messaging. It is crucial that we as an industry have these tough conversations year-long,” Jein agrees.

“That is why we at Kindred host the Sustainable Gambling Conference, to gather experts from across the industry under one roof and discuss how we can work together to secure safe gambling and a long-term sustainable industry.

Responsible Gambling Week is a good opportunity to create further awareness and engagement”

“Initiatives like Responsible Gambling week are great ways of boosting communication and extend the safe gambling even further. Much has been said about gambling companies and our involvement in football. But at Kindred we are clear: Gambling companies and the wider industry have an important role to play in tackling problem gambling.

“Responsible Gambling Week is a good opportunity to create further awareness and engagement in the tools that are available to help customers stay in control. Responsible gambling is a very important part of our sustainability framework and has been an important part of our business from the very beginning.

“The key message from the industry towards the players must be that gambling should always be fun and a form of entertainment. It is also important that the players know that we offer a variety of tools to help ensure you only spend the time and money you can afford.”

Before concluding by stressing how a previously addressed conference emphasised the need to continue to increase the level of cross-industry collaboration in tackling problem gambling: “We have hosted the Sustainable Gambling Conference four years in a row now, and one of the key takeaways from this conference is that collaboration is one of the most important factors to prevent problem gambling. 

“We know from working with researchers that it adds significant value when operators and researchers work closely together and share information. At this year’s conference, we had invited a broad range of partners to extend the discussion on how the gambling industry can add value to society, and we heard from a range of organisations and NGOs who work with the gambling industry.”