Per Holknekt is reportedly accusing Kindred of fuelling his gambling addiction.
Sweden.- Media outlets in Sweden are reporting on what looks set to be a high-profile legal case against the online gambling operator Kindred Group. The fashion designer and entrepreneur Per Holknekt has reportedly filed a lawsuit at the Stockholm District Court.
According to Expressen.se, Holknekt, who is best known as the founder of the Odd Molly clothing line and for featuring in the first season of Sweden’s Big Brother, alleges that the Stockholm-listed online gaming company and its Swedish subsidiary Spooniker Ltd fuelled his gambling addiction.
He is reportedly seeking SEK 10m (€1m) in damages, claiming that his gambling “spiralled out of control” due to Kindred’s products. He says that in just eight years he bet SEK 55m and lost SEK 26m on Kindred’s Unibet alone.
Holknekt has spoken publicly about his gambling addiction in the past, openly accused Kindred and has since become a campaigner for gambling reform.
In an interview with Resume.se as far back as 2020, Holknekt said: “Each game was my own decision, but as a severe gambling addict, [the operator] skilfully knew like a crack dealer exactly how to play me to generate the highest possible profit.”
He added: “Every time I tried to quit, they sent me another fix. I was a very profitable and highly addicted VIP customer at Unibet.”
He has previously said that he was gathering data to seek to reveal deficiencies and irregularities in Kindred’s marketing strategies and in its money laundering duties.
“Unibet advocates responsible gambling and sustainability, but only as a sham; our analysis shows the exact opposite. Our numbers clearly demonstrate malpractices within the Kindred Group,” he said.
He also criticised the pension fund AP Fonden and the banks Nordea and Swedbank for investing in gaming operators.
The case is a PR blow for Kindred, which has made much of its transparency with regard to problem gambling. Its annual sustainability report estimates how much of its revenue comes from harmful gambling – a figure it aims to reduce to 0 per cent by 2023.
The group claims to be the first online gambling company to provide such data on safer gambling and sustainability metrics as part of its financial duties. Its March report shows that in 2021, 4 per cent of its gross winnings of £1.26bn was calculated to have come from “high-risk customers“, which Kindred defines as players who have closed their account due to addiction or who were detected by Kindred’s player detection system (PS-EDS).
Earlier this month, Kindred’s Unibet went live in the Netherlands after a six-month absence while it awaited a licence to operate on the newly regulated market. It had an issue with bonuses on launch.