SBC News Nils Andén: KOA uncertainties will not derail FDJ deal…

Nils Andén: KOA uncertainties will not derail FDJ deal…

Kindred Group CEO Nils Andén has played down the risk of online slots being banned in the Netherlands or that Dutch market KOA uncertainties will derail the €2.6bn bid from Français des Jeux (FDJ) as recommended to investors.

Speaking during the group’s Q1 call with analysts this morning, Andén said the recent proposal to ban online slots was just “a motion, so ultimately it’s up to the government as there is a range of motions introduced” every year.

Q1 trading saw Kindred underline positive results in the Netherlands, up 20% and the key contributor to the firm’s improved performance in Western Europe generating gross win revenues of £192m.

The comeback in the Netherlands is significant to Kindred’s long-term outlook, following year-on-year adjustments to KOA market rules since its inception in October 2021.

Yet anxieties remain with regards to the KOA market’s future, as last week Dutch MPs backed reformists motions to introduce a full-scale ban on gambling advertising and a “ban on high-risk games” categorised as online slots.

Kindred CEO recognises that three of the four main political parties in the country opposed the motion and noted that the main ambition behind the launch of a regulated Dutch market was “to drive channelisation, increase tax revenues and ensure there is a good level of protection in the market”.

“I think this motion goes pretty much directly against all those objectives, but we will have to wait and see what the government says on this.”

Investors were reminded that although approved by a vote in the Kamer, the motions to impose a ban on online slots and gambling advertising, have to be determined into whether they can be applied to Dutch law.

Thus Kindred maintains a positive outlook for the Dutch market, awaiting for Legal Protections minister Franc Weerwind to complete the KOA consultations on mandatory deposit limits of €350 and €150 for player accounts under the age of 24.

Related to KOA developments, FDJ senior executives recently commented that the French group’s bid for Kindred would not be derailed even if online slots were banned by the Kamer, as Andén said both groups thought along similar lines on the issue.

“I don’t want to put words in their mouth, but FDJ have a long-term perspective on Kindred as a business and if a ban does come through there might be some effects on that short term, but our position is so strong in the Netherlands that I think they’re very confident for our long-term outlook.”

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