SBC Americas spoke with Manuel Stan, senior vice president USA of Kindred Group, to talk about the company’s recent hook-up with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and other activities, including a high-profile appearance at the inaugural Betting on Sports America Conference in New York next April.
Kindred Group, the global operator of online gaming brands including 32Red and bingo.com, has been very busy making inroads to the nascent US sports betting market. As reported widely, the firm has entered into an agreement with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in New Jersey in order to pursue a Casino Service Industry Enterprise License in the state.
The collaboration, which spans 5+5 years, is an important first step for Kindred in its aspirations to offer online sports betting and gaming in the US. It will combine Hard Rock’s lifestyle and entertainment experience with Kindred’s digital innovation and data analysis, to create a strong offering in the New Jersey market.
SVP of Kindred’s American arm, Manuel Stan, told SBC Americas: “Hard Rock is one of the most exciting brands in the US gaming space and their ambition to become market leader is aligned with ours. Both parties are here to stay, so a 5+5 year deal made perfect sense from the beginning.”
Talking more about the process involved in attaining the Casino Service Industry Enterprise Licence, Stan noted: “The process is made of two core parts: the due diligence – including both personal and corporate – and the product/platform certification. It is a very thorough process, but the DGE has been extremely helpful throughout the way. I cannot comment on the timelines, that depends on a variety of things from corporate structure to products/platforms used. In my view, it is a well designed process, hopefully one that other states can share some of the learnings from New Jersey.”
Stan also hinted at Kindred’s immediate plans once it has its license in place and how the firm’s strategy will take shape in the longer term. “At the moment, we are in the process of building our US operations on the East Coast and selecting the right partners for the launch,” he remarked. “We have 20-plus years of experience in the online space in Europe and Australia and we intend to bring that over to the US. It is a very exciting time, with a lot of different opportunities. We’re looking forward for the day when we will take the first US customer!”
According to Stan, the relationship between Kindred and the team at Hard Rock has been an incredibly productive one. It has involved working in close collaboration with Hard Rock’s SVP online gaming Kresimir Spajic who will speak on the ‘Feeding Frenzy’ panel at SBC Events’ Betting on Sports Conference in London in September.
“We share a similar ambition to be market leaders, so there is a good fit,” said Stan. “Kresimir and the team have been very helpful and there is a good dynamic in the partnership – I think it’s key that both parties understand we have to work together to make this a success.”
Looking ahead to 2019 and Stan is among a growing list of industry thought leaders who will be addressing the first ever Betting on Sports America Conference in New York on April 23 to 25. He revealed that he is very much looking forward to the occasion and to working with the SBC team who he has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with for several years.
“I have a long history with the SBC team – it’s more than just a professional relationship,” he said. They are very close friends. It’s a great pleasure to speak in New York next year, and I am sure the SBC team will replicate the success they have achieved in Europe and will bring a top quality event to the US sports betting market.”