Kindred provides mixed response to ongoing UK white paper consultations


Kindred has laid out its response to recent developments in the UK’s regulatory landscape, revealing its stance on the latest round of white paper consultations. 

On the group’s website, Head of Corporate Affairs, Tom Banks, provided shareholders with “an insight into Kindred’s final position” on the issues raised in  the UK Gambling Commission’s and the UK government’s recent consultations – financial risk checks, direct marketing opt-in requirements and online slot stake limits.

In regards to the financial risk checks, Banks explained that having a targeted, proportionate and “genuinely frictionless” risk check “is the collective ambition of those of us involved in this work”. 

“We were supportive of a system of financial risk checks – but only where a truly frictionless check was possible in reality, piloted by operators and tested extensively before rolling out via a licence requirement. 

“Kindred fully believes in the role of technology to keep players’ safe – and believe this system is a natural progression from our current framework in place across our UK business.”

The group also referred to a system it has used within its platform upon registration, implementing a “light touch” financial check at a £125 net loss. 

This approach has been proposed by the government’s white paper, as players with a net loss of £125 within one month could be required to receive a risk assessment as part of a financial vulnerability check focusing on moderate rates of spend. 

However, while being in support of financial risk checks, Kindred “disagreed strongly” with the proposal for operators to manually carry out said checks themselves, suggesting that this “would be impractical and unreasonable”. 

Examining the proposed marketing requirements allowing for greater player control in what promotional marketing they receive, Banks said that Kindred has “supportive in principle of the overarching ambition to ensure customers receive marketing that is appropriate for them”.

This includes its support for players to be faced with a ‘by channel basis’ across all operators, presenting options to opt-in to email, SMS, notifications, social media, postal, phone call and other direct marketing methods upon registration. 

While showing support for the updated regulatory proposals surrounding marketing, Kindred again “strongly disagreed” with parts of the proposal, mainly the introduction of ‘re-approval’ marketing choices for customers. 

Banks said: “Kindred fully supports the changes in relation to ensuring existing customers can easily change their preferences on their account page throughout their journey with us, but not any further requirement to seek new approval for communication channels and product types. 

“If any new requirement stops us from being able to contact these customers overnight, we will have a significant impact on our ability to communicate with them going forward (despite them having previously consented to receive communications from us) and it may impact the more sporadic and infrequent customers.”

Finally, Kindred’s response looked at the proposed stake limits set to be introduced by the UKGC, which presented plans to introduce a maximum stake limit of between £2 and £15 for online slots, as well as a lower limit for 18-24 year olds. 

Kindred laid out support for the lowered stake limits, referring to its own limits that it places on players between 18-24 and those with lower affordability, but made it clear that these limits should be based on risk, and not on “blanket numbers”. 

The operator group suggested that implementing a more scrutinised financial risk check has presented the UKGC with the opportunity to “create a system where the two policies worked in tandem”, weighing up a player’s personalised stake limits using financial information rather than just their age. 

Banks said: “We agreed with the proposal to provide a lower limit for 18-24 year olds, but repeated the point that we can offer the same limit to all adults – with extra operator vigilance, policies and monitoring for younger players and those of lower affordability.”

Furthermore, Kindred also highlighted the fact that unlicensed operators will have no reason to follow the proposed stake limits, giving players the ability to continue gambling at higher stakes by being pushed to potentially harmful platforms. 

“We made the case that any limit agreed during the consultation will not be followed by the growing unlicensed market – meaning players will be able to find alternative slot products with no limits or RG safeguards in a short space of time. 

“This impact is acknowledged in the White Paper, but further consideration should be given to the knock-on effect of a slot limit that is too low in relation to player shifts to the unregulated market.”

Rounding off its response to the consultations, Banks added:  “Kindred remains committed to contributing to the debate and providing evidence to help policymakers design the regulation to keep players’ safe while ensuring the majority of players can continue enjoying their experience in the regulated market.”