Kindred’s Unibet signs first Dutch sponsorship deal with Ajax

Kindred gained a Dutch online gambling licence earlier this month.
Kindred gained a Dutch online gambling licence earlier this month.

Unibet has signed a multi-year deal with the Eredivisie football club.

The Netherlands.- Fresh from gaining its Dutch online gambling licence, Kindred Group’s Unibet brand has sealed a sponsorship arrangement with AFC Ajax. The multi-year deal will see Unibet become an official partner of Ajax for a range of joint marketing and promotional initiatives.

Unibet will collaborate with Ajax on social projects, including mental health, responsible gambling and anti-match-fixing initiatives. This will include its Unibet Impact scheme.

Ajax commercial director Menno Geelen said: “We are delighted to have Unibet as our newest partner. Kindred Group and its brands are well known for their dedication within the field of responsible gambling.

“This will receive explicit attention in our partnership. Unibet distinguishes itself through its high-quality product offering that is enjoyed by fans. We will support this with joint content and initiatives. Above that, we will also commit to Unibet Impact.”

Unibet Netherlands’ general manager Lennart Kessels said: “We are extremely proud to work together with Ajax. Within our partnership, we will invest in Unibet Impact, which is a unique program based on partnerships with professional and amateur sports clubs, and societal organisations.

“Unibet Impact is committed to education about responsible gaming, prevention of match-fixing and initiatives for supporters. Specifically with Ajax, we want to focus on responsible play in relation to mental health. In the coming period, we will investigate how we are going to shape this exactly and also learn from initiatives that we have already supported elsewhere in the world.”

Kindred gained a licence from the Dutch gambling regulator De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) earlier this month, eight months after it began blocking Dutch players on the launch of the country’s regulated igaming market in October. Since Kindred had previously been active in the unregulated market, it had to wait for a cooling-off period to pass before it could secure a licence.

Chief executive Henrik Tjärnström said: “The Netherlands is a large and important European market and one that we look forward to operating in with a local licence.

“We have been advocating local licence schemes for the past decade, and are thrilled that our newly awarded licence in the Netherlands will allow us to deepen and develop our involvement in the Dutch society, as well as actively contribute to a fair and sustainable gambling market. 

“As part of our long-term ambitions and strategy, we are eager to provide a safe, secure and entertaining gambling experience for Dutch customers.”

Kindred saw a signficant impact on revenue since it began blocking Dutch players. Revenue for the first quarter was down 31 per cent year-on-year. Gross winnings revenue (B2C) was down 31 per cent to £242.4m, largely because of the block on customers in the Netherlands. Outside of the Netherlands, gross winnings were down 7 per cent (or 3 per cent in constant currency).

Kindred takes “difficult decision” to leave German igaming market

Meanwhile, Kindred has decided to withdraw its Unibet brand from the German market due to slow progress with licensing and tight restrictions. It has withdrawn its sportsbook and online slots licence applications and will halt operations in the country from July 1.

New players can no longer register on Unibet’s German site and deposits have been blocked. The site will remain open for existing players to bet and withdraw funds until June 30.

Kindred said it has been a “difficult decision” but suggested that it had doubts about the financial viability of the German market. It said the application processes, and the terms and restrictions on the market, were unsustainable and would not allow it to stand up against competition from unlicensed offerings.

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