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A Journey Towards Zero: This Company In Malta Is Transforming Gambling

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An industry leader in the gaming industry in Malta has set out on a mission to promote safe and healthy gambling, transforming the way they operate in the sector, and how it is perceived.

Kindred already was a pioneer when it came to safer gambling, but has now renewed its purpose to turn gambling into a trusted source of entertainment that can contribute positively to society.

Bravely, they’ve recently published a breakdown of their revenues (you can check them out below) indicating how much was made from harmful gambling – the first time an operator has ever done so.

But this level of transparency isn’t enough for Kindred, who have announced their incredible ‘Journey Towards Zero‘  – achieving zero revenues from harmful gambling by 2023. This includes implementing a whole new system with 25 red flag indicators for the company to step in before a situation gets out of hand.

Indeed, when it comes to their operations on the island, two key managers in the team, Maris Catania (Head of Responsible Gambling & Research) and Daniel Gambin (Global Head of Player Sustainability), have contributed to building a responsible gambling company in a major way.

Maris Catania (left) and Daniel Gambin (right)

Maris Catania (left) and Daniel Gambin (right)

“Gambling problems occur and impact on a social level,” Maris Catania told Lovin Malta.

“For each person that has a gambling disorder, research shows that there are 22 affected others,” she continued. “Just imagine, if I develop a gambling disorder, my whole family, and we Maltese have big families, my colleagues and others will be impacted. We as a company need to realise the issues and do something to minimise harm that gambling can create.”

For Kindred, taking the human element out of gambling is just not on.

“It is at the centre of everything that we do. We are discussing human behaviour and not just account numbers,” she said.

The company has taken a pro-active approach to ex-addicts, even inviting them to their offices to raise awareness.

“We work a lot with people who have gone through a gambling addiction,” Catania said. “We invite them to our offices, where they explain what they have been through and raise awareness with our teams on how devastating gambling addiction can be. The people who have gone through gambling addiction, actually sit with our teams and see first hand what we are doing, and they give us advice on how we could make it better.”

“We are being proactive, not waiting until the customer reaches rock bottom for us to intervene.”

And as far as employees at the company go, they were very keen to see such a positive system brought on board.

“Employees were happy about this and proud to be working for a company that puts this on the forefront of their ambitions. We received messages about how great it is that Kindred does this, and that it really gives them satisfaction in their daily jobs,” Daniel Gambin told Lovin Malta.

“First and foremost, it positions Kindred as a company that is leading the way in this area – this helps to attract even more talent, including people who would not usually work in the gaming industry,” he noted.

“It also gives a sense of purpose and achievement to our current employees, who have always ranked responsible gaming as something that is of high importance to them. Lastly, it also helps educate, dispelling the myth that the majority of gambling revenues come from problem gamblers.”

 

While Kindred is working hard on turning itself into a pioneer in the gaming world, they want to bring the industry with them, bettering the entire sector in the process.

“The industry has to step it up by fully understanding and accepting the issue of problem gambling, and to then work to reduce and eliminate it,” he said. “Our ambition of zero per cent revenue from problem gambling by 2023 is a high set ambition but we truly believe in it.”

“But we also know that we need help from others to be able to achieve this goal,” he continued. “Help from regulators for example, but also we encourage other operators to do the same. If companies want to be successful in regulated markets, this is something they must master.”

Beyond this, Kindred has also made a name for themselves through their sponsoring of PhDs and other work done in collaboration with the University of Malta.

“We believe that by sponsoring and encouraging people to research this topic, this would help us reduce gambling-related harm,” Catania explained. “The main thing that is important is to take the learnings from research and then apply it to our work.”

“For example, one research identified the issues with people cancelling their withdrawal (so the customer would win, requests to receive the money in his bank account, but cancels the request to put the money back to play with it). In these cases, we started looking at people who are doing this and intervening to help them regulate their gambling. In some markets, we have even removed the option altogether,” she noted.

The company is clear in its vision to promote sustainable long-term growth and profitability while providing customers with a safe and entertaining gambling experience.

However, hitting zero per cent revenue for harmful gambling is a lofty goal, something the company is already working hard on, already rolling out key monitoring systems to help raise any red flags.

“This is a tough ambition and it will require dedication, collaboration and focus within Kindred, but also across the industry and from regulators,” the company said. “We know that one of the challenges we face is to understand if a customer has a gambling disorder when he or she opens an account with one of our brands.”

“This is why we monitor a customer’s behaviour to determine if there are signs of harmful gambling, interact with customers who show signs of changed behaviours, and offer a range of tested control tools,” she explained. “We continuously invest in improving our behavioural monitoring system, the Player Safety – Early Detection System (PS-EDS), and in further educating our skilled player sustainability team.”

Kindred made it clear that for their goal to be achieved, “the industry also needs to share knowledge and learnings and collaborate with all relevant stakeholders in society”.

Between their high level of transparency, their strategies to spot and manage red flags, as well as their Sustainable Gambling Conference, Kindred are on the frontline when it comes to responsible gambling.

Follow them on their Facebook and Instagram pages to find out more about their Journey Towards Zero and how you can be a part of this cause.

Share this story if you love what Kindred are doing for the industry 

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]
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