Kindred Group has signed a new three-year agreement with trusted partner Kambi, providing Kindred with operational security of its Sportsbook until the end of 2026. In addition to the agreement, Kindred is extending its current award-winning proprietary Kindred Racing Platform into a full in-house Sportsbook platform. This reflects Kindred’s long-term strategy of greater end-to-end control of its product offering and customer experience.
But what does this really mean? We had the opportunity to talk to Erik Bäcklund, Chief Product Officer; Andreas Reimblad, Group Head of Sportsbook; and Ben Colley, Group Head of Trading at Kindred Group.
Erik, could you please give us a little bit of background and explain why Kindred is taking this step?
What underpins our strategic intention is moving away from being a sales and marketing-led business, towards a product and customer experience (CX) focused organisation. A key part of this strategy is having full control of our product suite. Last year we fully acquired Relax Gaming, a provider of slots, casino, poker and bingo games content. The missing piece of the puzzle is, of course, our sportsbook, the majority of which is still outsourced. After the hugely successful development of our racing platform, the opportunity to expand its capabilities into a fully-fledged sportsbook platform was obvious. In fact, it was built with sports in mind from the start. That is the route we are taking and we continue to make very good progress behind the scenes.
Erik, what is the vision for Kindred Sportsbook Platform, KSP?
Part of the attraction of building on the racing platform was its very low legacy, meaning we can build directly towards our goals in a streamlined and slick manner without needing to worry about decades of old code that just won’t fit the bill. Big headlines for the KSP include the broad integration of fast, rich data, sophisticated presentation algorithms and automation in as many operational areas as possible. This includes trading and margin management. It is not just about efficiency, but about creating a consumer-relevant sports betting product that offers a consistent and rewarding user experience for our customers.
Andreas, what will this mean for the customer?
The customer can expect a locally relevant, tailored betting experience. We will seamlessly blend an offering mix of high-profile events, personalised content based on user history and preference, and of course, relevancy in terms of what’s happening now. We will have an expanded rewards suite to ensure that we can safely, and compliantly, stimulate safe, enjoyable betting and increase loyalty to the brand and product.
Ben, you have worked with Kindred’s award-winning Racing Platform. What makes it so special and why do you think transforming it into the new sportsbook product is the right way to go?
Since we launched the racing product a few years ago it has outperformed some ambitious expectations. We set out to create what we considered to be the first truly 24/7 racing product, with as much streaming and rich content that we could lay our hands-on. We achieved this at launch and have continued to develop in that vein with now, on average, a race every two minutes plus a virtuals suite on top. When we first started building that racing platform, we always had one eye on a possible future role in mainstream sports betting, so the paving slabs were laid some time ago for what we’re working on now.
It will come as no surprise to hear that we are building on a lot of the well-worn principles from our award-winning racing platform and with much of the backbone needed for sports betting already in place, we're already well on our way towards having a viable sports platform. As Erik has already mentioned, we have a very ambitious vision of what the future of sports betting will look like and we are implementing everything we need to achieve that as we go.
Ben, what will the biggest difference be from the situation today?
Our main sportsbook suppliers, Kambi and Optima (Sportradar), are both excellent and very well-established products that have worked well for Kindred for many years. Indeed, we see a future partnership with Kambi and Sportradar as one that evolves with our own, proprietary aspirations. Overall, we strongly feel that reinforcing the connection with our customers by having that complete control over our product, both back end and client, is what is right for our business long-term, and we are all very excited about the progress that’s being made.
Andreas, what will be the biggest benefit of having our own KSP?
It’s that end-to-end product control that’s based on a platform built in a way that we expect to remain highly relevant and highly scalable for many years to come. We believe that all users, from customers to employees to affiliates and suppliers, will feel the benefit of our product vision and what we will bring to the market in the coming years. Our approach is very exciting and with things moving according to plan we have not seen anything that we would want to change in terms of our ambition.
We are also excited about the initial response and enquiries we’ve received about the job roles we recently published and of course about how attractive Kindred is as an employer in the industry. One of the benefits is being able to work very closely within our internal, dedicated tech teams and ultimately, being closer to the end-users. We expect that intimacy with the consumer to really bear out in the overall customer experience.
Erik, this seems like a huge task. Are you up for this?
It is a huge task! But we have a very experienced team, including all those building the racing platform, who are fully focused on KSP development and its requirements. Speaking of which, we must remember that many of the foundations are already in place within that product. Our recruitment is going very well in all areas and, in fact, we’ve just started advertising for some key operations management roles. We are looking forward to building up our workforce in parallel to the technical development that is moving forwards at pace. Much praise to our dedicated KSP tech and project teams who are scaling up and working hard on these ambitious business requirements. Watch this space!
When will KSP be ready for customers to use?
We are well into the development stage of turning Kindred Racing Platform into a full sportsbook platform, and we are recruiting the necessary talent to complement our existing teams. Our plan is to have a state-of-the-art platform in place in the coming years.
Thank you so much for taking your time and we are sure that we will hear more from this trio in the future.