Kindred Group Signs New Jersey Deal with Scientific Games
Kindred Group has signed a 3-year partnership deal with Scientific Games for the New Jersey online gambling market. The deal follows closely on the heels of Kindred Group’s sports betting deal with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
The Swedish online gaming software supplier also signed a deal recently with SG Digital, a subsidiary of Scientific Games, so both the Scientific Games and Hard Rock deals allow for use the Open Platform System for player account management and game aggregation.
The Scientific Games deal allows for a 2-year extension at the time that the original 3-year deal expires. Scientific Games is the provider of lottery tickets for over 40 U.S. states, including the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries. Scientific Games also supports lotteries in dozens of countries worldwide.
In recent years, Scientific has bought several online gaming groups or slots manufacturers, including Bally Technologies, WMS Gaming (Williams Interactive), Barcrest, and NextGen Gaming.
Kindred Group Profile
Kindred Group is the company formerly known as Unibet Group Plc. Kindred owns 11 different online gambling brands, including 32Red Casino, Unibet, iGame, and Maria Casino. The gaming group, which had £751.4 million in revenues in 2017, was founded in Sweden by Anders Strom in 1997 but is based in Malta at present.
These days, Kindred Group has 1350 employees worldwide (pictured above: Kindred’s award-winning legal team). Kindred Group’s current CEO is Henrik Tjarnstrom.
Kindred Signs with SG Digital
In many ways, the deal between Kindred Group and Scientific Games was predictable. As soon as the SG Digital signing went into effect, one could expect Kindred to work with Scientific at some time in the future.
The senior vice president of Kindred Group, Manuel Stan, said of the new deal with SG Digital, “We are delighted to partner with SG Digital in the US, giving us swift access to the market and our coming US customers a truly great gambling experience on a top technology platform.”
Dylan Slaney, the SVP of Scientific Games, said of the deal, “This partnership signifies a bright future for SG Digital and Kindred in New Jersey. The growing market will benefit greatly from our Open Gaming System and Open Platform System technologies.”
SG Digital Profile
When SG Digital was launched in February 2018, it was designed with partnerships like the Kindred Group deal in mind. Former NYX Gaming Group CEO Matt Davey, who took NextGen Gaming from a company with 6 employees in 2004 to a global B2B competitor (as NYX Gaming) by 2016, is the head of SG Digital.
The launch of SG Digital led Scientific Games CEO Kevin Sheehan to say, “The creation of SG Digital marks the beginning of an exciting and defining new era for Scientific Games and underlines the company’s continued ambition and dedication to provide the industry with the very best content, technology and digital products. Our vision is to be the world’s leading supplier of digital gaming, sports and iLottery solutions.”
Strategic Partnerships in US Sports Betting
Kindred Group’s entry into the New Jersey sports betting market is another sign of the huge wave of investment by foreign gaming groups in the burgeoning new US gaming market. British Islands companies like Paddy Power-Betfair & Ladbrokes, William Hill, and FanDuel have signed strategic partnerships or undergone consolidation mergers to prepare for the new sportsbook laws in the United States.
On May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) was unconstitutional. PASPA banned sports betting in 46 states, while allowing three states (Oregon, Delaware, and Montana) to have sports lotteries, a kind of parlay bet for US sporting events. That left Nevada with a monopoly on single-game sports wagers – the kind most gamblers prefer.
The Supreme Court determined that such a law violated the equal protection principle and the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The federal government is allowed to regulate interstate commerce, but only if its purpose is to offer equal protection to all the states. PASPA gave one state unfair advantages over all the others, so it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that the US Congress could ban sports betting in 50 states or allow it to exist in 50 states, but nothing in-between.
The sports betting industries were entrenched enough in 1992 that Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon fought successfully to have their sports betting laws grandfathered into the PAPSA when it went into effect in 1993. Over the past 25 years, sports betting became more entrenched in those areas, while gambling in general became much more accepted by the US public. In an age when most Americans could be gambling on sports on their smartphone within a few minutes, banning land-based sportsbooks made little sense to most people.
Since the US Congress will not ban sports gambling in 50 states, the obvious alternative is leaving the issue to the individual states. Financial analysts have predicted as many as 20 states will legalize sportsbooks within the next 5 to 7 years. In preparation, any UK or Irish bookmaker which can gain a license has begun to sign deals with US gaming companies to gain entry into the market. The Kindred Group’s deal with Scientific Games and SG Digital is just the latest in a series of such deals.