From office to Formula One Suzuka GP in Japan

Mon, 16 Oct, 2023

At Kindred, we want our employees to experience the thrills of sport the same way our customers do. We support this by organising small and big betting competitions with great prizes, such as a sporting trip of a lifetime. Our Betting Masters 2022 winner, Jamie Hickey, a Sports and Racing Trader based in Gibraltar, recently returned from Formula One Suzuka GP in Japan, and we asked him to share his experience. 

Hi Jamie, firstly, congratulations on your win! The prize sounds like a dream holiday for most of us, could you tell us your most memorable moments and was it as you expected? 

It was honestly amazing! The flights, naturally, were a bit gruelling since it was a lot of travel, but I was taken care of by the attentive staff on the Japan Airlines section of the trip and had no issues whatsoever.

The hotel was lovely. I got off the train from the airport, and it was a 5-minute walk straight in; my room was on the top floor. Everything I needed was there; it was probably the comfiest room I've ever had.

Getting to the venue was unreal, straight up to the Champions Club hospitality suite, filled with gourmet food and unlimited drinks. The staff would attend to your every whim, and I had the perfect view of the circuit above the Aston Martin garage.

The highlight of my trip was the first day, the Friday. We went into the Paddock for a quick tour after practice. I managed to snag an autograph from Charles Leclerc as he finished an interview and took a selfie with Will Buxton, a presenter who works with Liberty Media. He was lovely to chat with. 

After that, it was quick spots of the drivers walking up and down, and I even got to go into the Pirelli tent and pick up a tire (20 kilos!).

The Saturday was fantastic as we had the grid walk after Qualifying and got a little sneak peek at them fixing up some of the cars, the safety car and medical car, and took the photo with the stunning championship trophy while the crowd watched interviews in the background.

Race day obviously was my favourite day. Just being able to be seated right in front of the grid as they started and to FEEL the cars as they vibrate the seat is something I'll never ever forget. Watching it on TV will never be the same.

Overall, I was well taken care of in the Champions Club area and managed to see and do things I'd only ever really dreamed of doing.

I also managed to grab some anime trinkets from the local shops around the hotel. Anything and everything were available to look at and buy, so I had no worries with any needs or wants.

As a side note, the Japanese Transport Ministry's efficiency in organising everything was something else. The trains had announcements in English to let you know which stop to get off at, and once you did get off, you were directed into a queue that wrapped around the local neighbourhood to efficiently board everyone onto buses that ran regularly between the train station and the circuit.

You won this trip by participating in the Kindred employees' Betting Masters competition. Please tell us more about this competition and what made you successful. Did you expect to win? 

The Betting Masters is competition that gives us an opportunity to share the excitement of big sports tournaments such as the World Cup. I didn't really expect to win. I'd read about it in an email and thought a competition with a chance to win a dream trip.

There was only one bet I had to place to win: a treble on Morocco to beat Portugal, Argentina, and the Netherlands to draw in 90 minutes, and the Rams to beat the Raiders, it was a 55/1 bet. I forgot about it until I checked the account one day. I was surprised and waited until the last update for the totals to come out before placing the other nine bets needed for my entry to be valid.

Then I waited impatiently for the end of the competition, and lo and behold, I won! It was nerve-wracking, and honestly, I was nervous up until I'd set my luggage down in the hotel room in Japan.

It was a bit of luck and a bit of strategy. I'd used some football and trading knowledge as a sports trader to pick the World Cup markets and used a bit of personal bias against the Raiders to place the third part of the bet with the hope that the Rams would beat them.

I was glad that my sporting knowledge, plus a bit of my trademark dumb luck, held up for it.

Let's finish with your journey to becoming a Sports Trader at Kindred. And what do you like about your job? 

I only joined Kindred on the 25th of July 2022, so it was only 3-4 months before the Betting Masters. I joined the company after being recommended Kindred by a few people in the industry as a good next step as they were hiring Traders.

The current environment in Kindred is fantastic. My boss, Kelan, is very easy to work with, and my other boss, when I'm helping out with the Racing Desk, Ian, is more than accommodating to any of my needs along with Kelan. 

It makes for a very friendly and welcoming workplace that is a rarity within Gibraltar when it comes to a comfortable environment that makes it easy and motivating to work. It makes me love my job. With Kindred Sportsbetting Platform just sets everything up, resolves issues that arise, and helps organise the system to get it ready for deployment, and Racing helps the Racing Desk and being able to take part in the banter they throw around daily.


  • Kati Leppanen
    Corporate Brand Manager