Kindred Group has confirmed that its flagship Unibet brand will withdraw its presence from the German market as of 1 July.
The Stockholm-listed operator has informed local authorities that it has chosen to cancel Unibet’s sportsbook and virtual slots licence applications to participate in Germany’s Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) regime.
“Our long-term strategic direction sets out locally regulated markets as the core engine for our growth,” Kindred informed SBC.
“However, licence application procedures, licence conditions, and the regulatory environment need to be transparent, sustainable, and financially viable for a market to be competitive.”
Kindred stated that its decision was taken following an assessment of market conditions that deemed the GlüNeuRStv’s application procedures and restrictions on products offered to be “not sustainable and competitive against the unlicensed offering”.
The decision sees Unibet become the highest-profile brand to exit the GlüNeuRStv regime, in which Kindred had observed a two-year waiting period to secure a market licence that was deemed no longer a strategic priority.
Withdrawing from Germany, Kindred stated that it had prioritised the objectives of growing its North American presence and taking ‘product control with the Kindred Sportsbook Platform and the acquisition of Relax Gaming’.
Kindred concluded: “We do not see a foundation for long-term shareholder value and customer experience at the moment. However, we appreciate that this position may change in the future.”
“As our operations in Germany are limited the decision will have an insignificant financial impact for Kindred.”
In need of reassurances, GlüNeuRStv licensed operators and stakeholders await for German authorities to establish a new regulatory agency, the Glücksspielbehörde (GGL).
Following the GlüNeuRStv regime’s ‘tough year-1 transitions’, German stakeholders expect the GGL to fix the market’s commercial limitations on licensing, tax and product restrictions that have seen the market become European online gambling’s problem child.