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Gambling Insider's CEO Special: Henrik Tjärnström

Wed, 05 Feb, 2020

Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström was interviewed by Tim Poole from Gambling Insider for their CEO Special 2020. Henrik talks about lifelong relationship-building that makes customers want to come back and how gaming must strive to be part of the “customer’s entertainment budget”. He also emphasises the importance of transparency and the need to fend off the black market.

Here’s an extract from Henrik’s exclusive interview with Gambling Insider:  

“When English Championship football club Derby County, sponsored by Kindred-owned online casino 32Red, announced it will sign Rooney in January, eyebrows were raised in the footballing world. When it was revealed Rooney would wear the number 32 on his shirt as part of 32Red’s sponsorship, there was sheer outrage from certain sectors. Chief among the critics was GVC CEO Kenny Alexander, who labelled the move a ‘complete own goal.’ 

‘We knew it would be controversial to some extent,’ Tjärnström begins. ‘We see it in a bigger perspective. We’re very proud of what we do with Derby County, and how through that partnership we raise awareness about men’s mental health and work with the local community. We think shirt sponsorships can be used for good and don’t just have to be seen as a reason for excessive gambling. I believe we as an industry have a role to play in that; as long as we ensure customers gamble with moderation.’ 

That brings Tjärnström to Kindred’s 0% target. The company doesn’t want customers who play with more than they can afford to lose. Taking responsibility, the CEO says, is a ‘fundamental aspect’ of long-term profitability. But, given the nature of both the industry and its product, is eliminating all problem gambling revenue by 2023 truly realistic for Kindred? 

Digital entertainment

In highlighting the entertainment aspect of gaming, the Kindred CEO echoes the thoughts of another interviewee in this issue: Evolution Gaming’s Martin Carlesund. According to both, the likes of Spotify, Netflix and HBO are primary competitors for gaming brands. In Tjärnström’s eyes, gaming must strive to be part of the ‘customer’s entertainment budget,’ building a lifelong relationship and making customers want to come back. In other words, there’s no point fleecing them for everything they have so they never return. 

‘With the new technologies and tools available for us, we don’t see it as unreasonable to assume we can all but eradicate problem gambling as we see it today,’ Tjärnström says. ‘People have gambled for thousands of years – that’s not going to go away; the important thing is to make it happen in an open and transparent environment. We can take care of customers and stop the problem before it arises.’” 

Read the full article here