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Unibet Doubles US Reach

Kindred

The Unibet mobile sports betting app is coming to two two expanding US sports betting markets: Indiana and Iowa.

Unibet is the flagship sports betting brand of the Kindred Group, a Stockholm-listed company, and is already live in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania through deals with Hard Rock and Mohegan Sun Pocono respectively.

The brand has gained access to its third and fourth US states as a result of a 10-year deal with Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, which operates casinos in Indiana (Horseshoe Hammond) and Iowa (Harrah’s Council Bluffs).

Kindred is now free to immediately seek sports betting licenses in both states, which should be a formality.

The deal, which was announced Tuesday, also allows the two parties to extend their partnership to additional states, depending on whether the initial partnership yields good results.

Manuel Stan, SVP of Kindred US, said his group was thrilled to be working with one of  world’s most renowned and diversified casino-entertainment providers.

Caesars’ geographical spread in the US gives us a unique opportunity to build our footprint, with Indiana and Iowa next in line and potential other states lined up. We also share Caesars’ vision to offer customers an unforgettable experience where every guest is treated like a Caesar, he added.

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Still room for Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars already operates retail sportsbooks in both Iowa and Indiana and that’s not expected to change as a result of this deal.

As Caesars Entertainment continues to gain state approvals for legalized sports betting in the U.S., we look forward to adding Kindred to our list of sports betting partners in certain states. Caesars can continue to operate its own sports betting offering under the Caesars Sports brand in these states, Caesars executive vice president Christian Stuart said in a press release.

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Kindred extends deal with Pala

Kindred has also announced it will use Pala Interactive technology for its launch in the new states, as it has done in Pennsylvania since November of last year.

Pala’s services include a proprietary online gaming platform, a player management system, online casino products and integration with sports betting provider Kambi.

Market expansion costing Kindred

Kindred’s FY19 financial report was made public on Wednesday and, as expected, it reported flat revenue growth for last year.

However, the company remains optimistic for future quarters and is committed to its US expansion, with ongoing investment expected to bear fruit in the long term.

Unibet can tap into Illinois market

Illinois legalized sports betting in June 2019 and while March of this year has been designated as the target date for launch, there is still miles of red tape to go through.

In the meantime, Illinois bettors will continue to cross into neighboring Indiana to patronize the likes of Caesars’ Horseshoe Hammond, which is the nearest sportsbook to the Chicago metropolitan area, and Ameristar East Chicago, which is affiliated with DraftKings.

Unibet’s partnership with Caesars will therefore give it a foot in the door of Illinois’ nascent sports betting industry.

Moreover, the deal will also bring mobile and online betting options to the Horseshoe Hammond, which has so far struggled to compete financially with other sportsbooks in the Hoosier State.

Indiana and Iowa moving in opposite directions

Indiana’s sports betting industry continues to grow at a pace, with sports betting handle rising 5.6% in January over December to $170.8 million, driven by an 11.6% online handle growth to $123.4 million. Hoosiers can bet from anywhere inside state borders.

That’s not the case in Iowa, which requires in-person registration casinos through to the end of 2020, and that is clearly limiting growth. Sports betting handle in the Hawkeye State dropped 2.1% to $58 million in January, with online handle accounting for $33.8 million of that figure.

Follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa for more legal sports betting news across the US.

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