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Kindred Announces Launch Of Unibet Brand In Washington State

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Kindred Group has announced the forthcoming launch of their Unibet Sportsbook brand in Washington State.
  • Unibet is partnered with Swinomish Tribe and will launch their sportsbook at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes, Washington.
  • Washington is the seventh US state for the Unibet brand with a launch in Illinois pending.

Kindred Group has announced the forthcoming launch of their Unibet Sportsbook brand in Washington State. Washington will be the seventh US state for Unibet joining New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Arizona and Virginia. Since mobile sports betting in Washington remains ‘TBA’, the Unibet presence will be a retail sportsbook in partnership with the Swinomish Tribe in Anacortes, Washington. The initial phase of the partnership will be for six years with ‘the possibility of extending the collaboration for an additional five year term.’

The retail sportsbook will be called by the somewhat verbose name ‘Unibet & Swinomish Sportsbook at Swinomish Casino & Lodge’. The Swinomish property is definitely gorgeous–it’s located between Seattle and Vancouver, BC and there are few places in the country more amazingly beautiful. Here’s the property description from their website:

Set in a stunning location overlooking Padilla Bay, Swinomish Casino & Lodge is a Pacific Northwest paradise in Anacortes, Washington. Conveniently nestled between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, our property offers the finest in entertainment, accommodations, gaming, and dining. A stay in our cozy Lodge allows you to relax and recharge in one of 98 spacious guest rooms and suites. In celebration of the Swinomish Tribe, each room is decorated with authentic Native American touches and local artwork. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an abundance of natural light with breathtaking views of the Swinomish Channel, San Juan Islands, and Mount Baker. Take full advantage of the scenery from your personal balcony, and then head out to explore all that Anacortes has to offer!

A view of the property on a typically Pacific Northwest looking day

Manuel Stan, SVP of North America Kindred Group, offered this quick hit quote:

“We are very excited to expand our footprint in the US, and to do so together with the Swinomish tribe. The opening of a Sportsbook Lounge at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge will allow us to offer best in class sports betting experience.”

The Unibet press release closed with a very prescient statement about their future expansion plans. (Emphasis added):

Kindred will continue to invest in growing its US operations where market conditions support a sustainable business model.

Interior decor of the Swinomish Casino and Lodge

Were I writing the press release I would have either replaced or supplemented ‘market conditions’ with ‘regulatory environment’. The ‘market conditions’ for sports betting are just fine. The always have been. People want to bet on sports. Bookmakers want to set up shop and take their bets. The only way that you can screw up this dynamic is through a idiotic regulatory framework.

You’re going to see this become a bigger deal in the future as there have been so many downright bumbling efforts by states setting up new regulatory framework. States that do it right will continue to flourish. States that do it wrong such as Connecticut will flounder. States that try to artificially limit competition in order to make gaming licenses into ‘bargaining chips’ will underperform. States that let the lottery control sports betting–either via a monopoly operation like Rhode Island or by letting them have oversight over an industry they know nothing about like Virginia–will have the biggest mess on their hands.

The US sports betting industry as well as ancillary beneficiaries such as sports teams, sports leagues, media, etc. will continue to experience strong growth just as long as there continues to be new jurisdictions opening with competitive market conditions that–to quote the Kindred press release–‘support a sustainable business model’. At some point, the growth in US sports betting could hit a wall and hit it hard due to the horrific regulatory framework that too many states have foisted on their citizens.

The industry really needs to organize in order to put pressure on states that create regulatory environments that simply preclude the creation of a viable sports betting ecosystem. If a state doesn’t want to have sports betting that’s their business. It’s stupid and backwards thinking but still their business. If a state does want to get on the sports betting bandwagon it’s imperative that they enact regulation that benefits all of the relevant stakeholders and helps the entire industry move forward. Trying to soak the industry with insane taxes and fees doesn’t work. Nor does limited competition, burdensome regulation and micromanagement of bookmaking professionals. Worst of all are states like Montana, Arizona, Connecticut and Rhode Island who have made the priority growing the power of state lottery bureaucracies or enriching cronies and politically powerful entities. Bumbling regulation will at one point threaten the survival of the ‘golden goose’ of US sports betting and the industry along with allies in other industries need to work proactively to address the situation before it becomes problematic.

Here’s the PDF of the press release:

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