Betting group reveals what profit it makes from problem gamblers as government considers widespread industry reform

Credit: PA

The betting operator Kindred Group, which owns well-known brands 32Red and Unibet, has opened up its books to show just how much it makes from high-risk or problem gamblers.

They say the figure currently stands at four percent of their betting revenue and they are committed to reducing it to zero per cent over the next two years.

Kindred have made this move as the government considers widespread regulation of the industry, including the level of sponsorship bookies will be allowed within sport.

The firm has advertising with a range of football clubs - including Derby County. Credit: PA

There are those who are pushing for a complete ban, similar to when tobacco companies were outlawed.

Currently 32Red is the main shirt sponsor for Derby County, Middlesbrough and Preston North End in England - and Rangers FC in Scotland. The group also uses perimeter advertising in the Premier League.  

Neil Banbury, Kindred’s UK General Manager, told me that banning gambling related advertising outright would not be an evidence-led conclusion.

He says it will be harmful for clubs, especially in the current economic climate.

The pandemic will cost Premier League clubs somewhere between £700m and £1 billion according to some estimates - the vast majority of Championship clubs have partners in the gambling industry. 

"Instead of talking about a complete ban, we should be talking about a moderation of how much there is and perhaps setting a higher bar for who can get involved with football clubs," he said.

Mr Banbury points to the responsibility that comes with being a club partner, for example the prominent safer gambling messages currently on display and the considerable investment his group puts into club community schemes. 

"I think we need to be talking about a position where the industry is part of the wider eco-system of how football can be consumed, it can contribute to the enjoyment around football but crucially we can find better ways to work with football clubs - that serves the clubs and their communities.

"We invest and if we’re doing that in a way that is responsible and sustainable that should be encouraged."

Gamble Aware estimate that there are almost 1.5 million problem gamblers in the UK.

The government’s call for evidence concludes in March amid suggestions that No 10 has already all but made up its mind on ending betting sponsors on football shirts.