Stockholm-listed Kindred Group is officially expanding its US reach with Tuesday's announcement that they, along with Heavyweight Caesars Entertainment are free to pursue licenses to operate online sports betting and online gaming in Iowa and Indiana. The move adds two more states into the Unibet fold along with Pennsylvania and New Jersey with an eye on more states going forward.
“We are thrilled to further extend our presence in the US together with one of the world’s most renowned and diversified casino-entertainment providers,” said Manuel Stan, SVP of Kindred US. “Caesars’ geographical spread in the US gives us a unique opportunity to build our footprint, with Indiana and Iowa next in line and potentially other states lined up. We also share Caesars’ vision to offer customers an unforgettable experience where every guest is treated like a Caesar.”
The deals are pending both parties obtaining necessary gaming licenses and laws being drafted to support such platforms in each state. At present, Caesars does not have a mobile app in either Indiana or Iowa but Tuesday’s announcement appears as though it will change all of that.
The agreement announced Tuesday will give Unibet access in Indiana through Caesars’ Horseshoe Hammond Property, and Iowa with Harrah’s Council Bluffs. The deals are effective immediately and will run for 10 years. Indiana betting, which only started in September, is viewed as one of the more up-and-coming markets in the country with a $170.8 million handle in January alone and Iowa, despite a relatively small population has also been impressive since their launch and had a $58 million handle last month.
The deal will provide bettors in Iowa and Indiana world-leading experience in the sports betting space. Kindred boasts industry-best digital customer knowhow and data analytics capacity with a clear focus on giving its players safe and exciting online betting options. Pala Interactive technology will be used in both states.
Pala Interactive looks like another winner in Tuesday's announcement. The Kindred/Caesars deals will use Pala technology for its online real money gaming platform for Indiana and Iowa. Included in the agreement are Pala Interactive's proprietary technology and services, Pala’s Player Account Management system, Pala online casino products, and integration with sports betting provider Kambi.
“It has been a pleasure to launch the Kindred Group in Pennsylvania,” said Jim Ryan, CEO Pala Interactive. “We are incredibly proud that such an innovative company has trusted our flexible and capable Gaming Platform to grow their business in Indiana and Iowa.”
Expansion requires patience
Kindred Group's expansion will take some time. The company has targeted late summer as a time to launch in Indiana, just in time for the NFL season with Iowa's rollout coming in early 2021. Firm dates haven’t been announced but there are whispers about launch coinciding with others that have a Kindred/Caesars connection.
As for other plans, Manuel Stan, Kindred’s senior vice president of US operations recently commented that: “Regarding other states, we have not announced any other agreements but we are, of course, evaluating other potential entries in other states,”
Despite the fact that expansion led directly to an $8 million loss last quarter, Kindred and Unibet will not be deterred from rapid expansion in the exploding US legal betting market. Kindred seems committed to the US market and Caesars’ American brand seems like the perfect fit going forward.