Norwegian regulator says it will start to fine Kindred

Kindred has been given two weeks to withdraw from the Norwegian market.
Kindred has been given two weeks to withdraw from the Norwegian market.

Lotteritilsynet says it will fine the gaming operator up to €42.8m in the next year if it does not stop targeting Norwegian players without a licence.

Norway.- The Norwegian regulator Lotteritilsynet has warned that it’s reached the end of its patience with Kindred Group, which continues to defy Norway’s monopoly gaming system. It says it will hit the Sweden-based operator with a fine of up to NOK437m (€42.8m) in the next year, which is what the regulator claims Kindred is earning illegally from the Norwegian market.

It will fine Kindred’s Trannel subsidiary NOK1.198m a day for as long as it remains active in Norway, starting in three weeks’ time. The fines will continue until Trannel withdraws its offer or until the fines reach its annual gross profit as calculated by the regulator.

The regulator had already warned the operator that it will face fines after Trannel lost a lawsuit against Norway that it lodged after losing an appeal against Lotteritilsynet’s cease and desist order. It lost its subsequent appeal against the Oslo District Court judgment earlier this month.

Trannel, which runs Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller and Bingo, does not have a licence to offer gambling in Norway, which operates a closed system with two state-controlled operators, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, the only companies allowed to offer gambling. Kindred argues that the Norwegian model is contrary to international laws.

Henrik Nordal, director of the regulatory authority, said: “When a gaming company that operates illegally in Norway can earn NOK437m from its illegal activity in the course of a year, we owe it to the Norwegian people and those who struggle with gambling problems to do what we can to stop the illegal business.

“Surveys show that six out of ten Norwegians do not know Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller and Bingo are illegal in Norway. You can lose much more money on these games than you can on similar legal games in Norway. 

“One of our most important social missions is to protect those who have gambling problems or who are at risk of developing gambling problems. We expect Trannel to take social responsibility and withdraw from the Norwegian market.”

Earlier this month, Norsk Tipping, one of Norway’s two legal gambling operators, announced that it would be stopping all sports betting advertising on TV. The move is part of a series of measures from Norsk Tipping to reduce its marketing. It said it would reduce its total marketing spend and would also stop sending SMS messages to promote gambling. The operator said that since Discovery Europe had complied with the country’s ban on the broadcast of gambling adverts from unlicensed operators, it no longer needs to market its own offer so visibly.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, the fashion designer and entrepreneur Per Holknekt has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Kindred at the Stockholm District Court. According to, 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.

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