Kindred, one of the top five top-grossing betting groups in the world, was the first in the industry to release numbers on problem gamblers as operators compete to upgrade their stewards of accountability when regulation threatens.
The Sweden-based online betting company, owner of 32Red and Unibet, said 4 percent of its sales come from "high-risk gamblers" which it defines as showing signs of addiction on its own detection system.
The number refers to revenue for the last three months of 2020, but Neil Banbury, General Manager of Kindred UK, said the percentage has been "very tight" throughout the year.
Kindred reported sales of around £ 1.13bn in 2020, suggesting the group has stolen around £ 45million from gamers it believes are high risk. It is the first operator to publish such figures.
"We are not portraying this as a claim to triumph, but rather as open and transparent. We welcome your contributions and want people to help us improve this area," said Banbury.
Kindred's disclosure comes as the debate escalates amid a review of UK gambling laws. The government is currently taking evidence from operators, trade organizations and activists, with the expectation that new regulations will be enacted early next year.
Corporations are preparing to crack down on advertising, while anti-gambling activists have called for a limit on the amount players can spend at one time.
"There's been a pretty stigmatized debate around the industry and the operators, and we're very keen to get facts out there," Banbury said.
Betting groups have published a number of reports and surveys in the last few weeks to convince politicians that the rules are too restrictive.
Entain, owner of the Ladbrokes and Bwin brands, said Monday that it had set up a "player panel" from its own customer base that would discuss gambling with political stakeholders and the media to "bring the everyday perspective of the customer."
A Betting and Gaming Council report published on Thursday and funded by the industry association warned of increased use of black market betting websites, which pose a risk to "player protection, athletic integrity, anti-money laundering and tax collection."
There are around 300,000 problem gamblers in England, according to the latest NHS health survey.
Dan Waugh, gambling regulation specialist at Regulus Partners, warned that while the intent behind Kindred's publication of its problematic gambling numbers was "admirable", the criteria by which high-risk gambling was judged were unclear.
"There is often a mismatch between the way operators identify potentially problematic gambling and the way clinicians and researchers do it," he said, adding, "I suspect there are any number of researchers willing to include Kindred in his offer to open his books. " & # 39; to validate [his] calculations. & # 39;
Kindred said they were players who showed signs of addictive behavior but also included in their numbers those whose accounts had already been closed by the company, either because the customer excluded themselves or because they were addicted.