Lottstift has won its latest legal battle against the Swedish gambling operator.
Norway.- The Norwegian gambling regulator Lottstift has renewed its call for Kindred to permanently exit the Norwegian market. It comes after it won a “decisive victory” in a legal dispute with the Swedish gambling operator’s Trannel International subsidiary.
The Borgarting Court of Appeal has upheld Lottstift’s ruling that Trannel’s Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller and Bingo.com brands had illegally targeted Norway by offering online gambling services to players in the country without a licence. Under Norway’s state-controlled monopoly system, only Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto can offer gambling in the country.
Lottstift says the latest verdict brings an end to its five-year legal dispute with Kindred and validates its stance on unlicensed offshore gambling. It said the court’s ruling “solidifies the expectation for Trannel to completely withdraw from the Norwegian market, marking an essential moment in the country’s crackdown on illegal gambling”.
Lottstift director Atle Hamar said: “The fact that Trannel is not supported on a single point of view, shows that the work we do to get illegal companies out of the Norwegian market is solid and well-established.”
He added: “The verdict confirms that the Lotteries and Foundations Authority’s decision to stop the illegal gambling offer was correct. Now we expect the company to withdraw completely from the Norwegian market.”
Kindred has been ordered to pay the state’s legal costs. It’s also likely that Lottstift will renew its €100,000 daily fines against Kindred should it start targeting the Norwegian market again. Kindred had removed Norwegian language content from its site as a temporary measure pending the court’s decision on its appeal.
Kindred has always argued that Lottstift has no legal precedent in Norwegian or European Economic Area (EEA) law under which to restrict its business. It says that Norway’s monopoly system is a breach of European law.
Culture and equality minister Anette Trettebergstuen said: “The result is not exactly surprising, as this lawsuit joins the series of several other lawsuits in the gambling field where the state has been fully supported each time.
“The latest decision by the Borgarting Court of Appeal rejecting Trannel’s appeal reaffirms the validity of the Norwegian Lottery Authority’s actions and the necessity of regulating the gambling market to protect consumers and uphold legal and ethical standards.”