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Kindred Group UK general manager Neil Banbury has reiterated the need for all operators to move to a sustainable future in which problem gamblers make up 0% of income.

Speaking alongside the operator’s head of responsible gambling and research Maris Catania during the iGaming NEXT Online: Bright Future panel, Kindreds’ Journey to Zero, he said Kindred’s reliance on problem gamers was down to 3.9% in Q1 2021, from 4.2% in the previous quarter.

While Kindred is “heading in the right direction”, according to Banbury, he added: “There is no point in us getting to zero by pushing problems elsewhere. As a whole, the industry needs to be getting to 0%.”

Beyond that he said, the goal could not be achieved as solely an operator initiative. “We need co-operation down the value chain”, he said, calling on gaming providers, banks, payment providers, marketing partners and affiliates to all join the effort. “It’s a whole ecosystem, really, that need to align behind 0%.”

To that end, he said later in the panel that Kindred was conscious of which affiliates were sending them sustainable players and which were sending players that are “more skewed at the higher end of the risk spectrum”.

He went onto explain that investors also want to see businesses in the sector taking sustainability seriously. “Clearly, if there’s ever cases where something has gone wrong and a customer has maybe spent a lot of money through harm, that’s clearly no benefit to anyone really. That’s incredibly negative news for a PLC”, he said.

“You would like to think that that whole ecosystem, which starts with the investors to some extent, incentivises and rewards getting to 0%”

Catania said the business’ commitment to the 0% goal had made cross-team buy-in for player protection far easier to achieve and meant everyone, from commercial to responsible gambling, was now working proactively to achieve it.

“We used to have clashes between departments because there was never enough alignment towards what we needed to achieve’, she explained.

She added that training has been a critical part of that too, including getting individuals with lived experience of gambling addiction to come in and explain what they went through step-by-step to “humanise” the problem.

“We have online learning for everyone but also training specifically for your needs when it comes to, for example, customer interaction”, she said.

In terms of reporting, Catania said Kindred had made the decision that it would over-report, rather than under-report, the proportion of income from problem gamblers.

Hence, it uses all metrics that may pick up problem gamblers or those with a chance of becoming addicted in the future.

“Researchers tend to use self-exclusion as a proxy measure for problem gambling, self-exclusion is only used as part of the revenue from harmful gambling that we’re reporting. So, we’re including any revenue as well that’s coming from customers that have confirmed addiction we’re also reporting if someone is showing high-risk behaviours”, she said.

You can watch the session with Maris Catania (Head of Responsible Gambling and Research, Kindred Group), Neil Banbury (General Manager UK, Kindred Group) and Rory Credland (Head of Insights and Intelligence, iGaming NEXT) on igamingnext.tv.