October 27, 2023
Kindred Group has announced that the company will not renew their license to operate in the Iowa online sports betting marketplace. In the lead up to the public announcement, Kindred had communicated to their marketing affiliates that any traffic to their Iowa site should stop. Affiliates were also advised to remove Unibet from any Iowa-facing properties.
With a population of just 3.2 million people, Unibet struggled to move the needle in Iowa in terms of market share. Unlike other small US states where there may be a relatively limited number of legal online sports betting providers, Iowa was one of the first US states to allow legal online sportsbooks. As a result, essentially all of the main US betting brands are live in Iowa, plus several upstarts.
Brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, PointsBet, BetRivers, Bally Bet, Barstool, Betway and Betfred Sports are all operating in this relatively small market. While Unibet is a huge global brand, within a market like Iowa, the brand recognition for Unibet just is not there. Kindred Group has not invested in US marketing for Unibet the way that some of these big US-focused brands have invested in the years since PASPA was defeated in 2018. Furthermore, Unibet did not commit to particularly large Iowa sportsbook bonuses and to attract new customers.
All these other brands not only enjoyed greater brand recognition than Unibet, but they also advertised new customer acquisition offers with greater headline values. Unibet's new customer offer for Iowa was for a "risk free bet" worth up to $100. While one can argue about whether or not any sports betting offer is truly "risk free" given other deposit or wagering requirements, the reality is that the dollar value of this offer was at the bottom of the range compared to all the other legal Iowa online sportsbooks.
Given these realities, it is no surprise that Kindred Group is looking to regroup and focus their other, larger markets in the US where they operate, including New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The last day of operation for Unibet in Iowa will be December 20, 2022.
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