Kindred Refuses to Stop its Operations in Norway
Kindred Group is standing firm against the threat of fines against its Trannel International subsidiary in Norway.
Lottstift, Norway’s gambling regulator, warned Trannel International last week that it would be fined NOK 1.2m (€120,000) a day if it did not immediately withdraw its online gambling offering in the country.
The regulator warned that it would take its toughest approach with Trannel because of repeat offences, imposing a “coercive fine” based on its estimations of Trannel International’s annual earnings. It put those at NOK 437m (€43m).
Kindred has already seen through various legal appeals in Norway but it is standing firm arguing that it is not violating Norwegian law and will not withdraw its offer from the market.
In an interview posted on Kindred’s website, Rolf Sims, the group’s public affairs manager for Norway, argued that it was not illegal for Norwegians to use Kindred’s operators, “in the same way that it is not illegal for Norwegians to shop with eBay or Amazon”.
He also said there was a “flagrant incompatibility” between Norwegian law and European Economic Area (EEA) law. Norway maintains a monopoly system on gambling with state-owned Norsk Tipping and the private trust racing betting operator Norsk Rikstoto the only operators permitted to offer gambling products under Norway’s Gambling Act.
Sims said: “In failing to organise a transparent licensing regime and conducting a truly consistent gambling policy, we feel that the fundamental freedoms within EEA law are systematically being violated by Norway, to the Norwegian Government’s advantage.
“Ensuring compliance with national and international laws contributes to a sustainable society. This also extends to Norway. A comprehensive judicial review of the legality of the order issued in 2019 and the gambling monopoly is for the benefit of Norwegian society, consumers and vulnerable players.”
Lottstift has noted that Kindred’s website featured Norwegian currency and customer support and that the group had broadcast advertisements in Norway. It has carried out various actions against Kindred including IP blocks and payment blocks and banning Kindred’s apps from appearing in the Apple App Store.
A request from Trannel for Oslo District Court to evaluate whether the blocking decision is valid is due to be heard in May.