Lotteritilsynet believes Kindred is still targeting Norwegian players.
Norway.- Last month, Lotteritilsynet, the Norwegian gambling regulator, put a hold on its threat to issue daily fines against Kindred Group’s Trannel subsidiary. But it now says that the fines will finally go ahead after finding that the operator was still targeting Norwegian players.
Kindred says that it has changed the language on its sites from Norwegian to English, removed Norwegian flags from all channels and changed the name of Storspiller to a non-Norwegian word. It also stopped all advertising and marketing in Norwegian and stopped offering Norwegian speaking customer service. But that’s not enough, according to the regulator.
The Sweden-based gambling company has always argued that it believes Norway’s monopoly system is against European law and that this means it was doing no wrong by targetting the country. Last month, however, it said that while it would continue to contest the case, it would stop targetting Norwegian customers in the meantime as a gesture of goodwill.
Lotteritilsynet says it will now impose a fine of NOK1.198m (€113,900) per day up until its estimate of Kindred’s revenue from the Norwegian market. Kindred says it will appeal the fines.
It said: “Despite the changes and Trannel’s clear communication to the contrary, Lotteritilsynet incorrectly claims that Trannel’s offering still targets Norwegian residents and has therefore decided to reinstate the coercive fine.
“Trannel firmly disagrees with the assessment as it is fully legal for Norwegian residents to access and use international gambling services, which are licensed in the EU/EEA area and offered within a safe and secure environment. Kindred will continue to passively accept customers residing in Norway.
“Lotteritilsynet does not have jurisdiction over Trannel as the company is domiciled in Malta and duly licensed by the Maltese Gaming Authority. Therefore, Kindred is confident that the coercive fine cannot be enforced by Lotteritilsynet outside of Norway.”
Kindred noted that it had applied for a gambling licence in Norway and said it wants to be an active part of Norwegian society and contribute to the country financially. Norway maintains a state-controlled monopoly under which only Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto can offer gambling.
In Sweden, Kindred Group and the state-controlled gambling operators ATG and Svenska Spel have recently agreed to collaborate to publish biannual reports on problem gambling interventions. ATG and Svenska Spel had already announced report, but the participation of a private gambling operator alongside them makes it a first-of-its-kind initiative.