Norwegian Problems Continue for Kindred Group

Kindred Group continues to have problems with the Norwegian regulator Lotteritilsynet. They have announced that daily fines imposed on the operator and its Trannel international subsidiary will resume.

In September of this year, the Norwegian regulator warned Kindred that a daily fine of NOK1.198m (£98,902) would come into force. The fines will continue every day that Trannel does not withdraw from Norway.

The decision was made on September 14 and the fines were to begin three weeks after that date. That didn’t happen though with the news from Kindred that Trannel were no longer going to target consumers from Norway.

Kindred has said that the decision had only been taken as a show of goodwill. They added that in their view their legal position is correct. Now the daily fines are due to resume and Kindred maintain that they do not agree with the legal basis for the “non-enforceable fine” and a court challenge looms in the future.

There have been changes made to Trannel in recent months. The language used on their sites is now English rather than Norwegian. Norwegian flags will no longer be seen on the sites and the Storspiller name has been changed to something that is non-Norwegian.

Nor will there be advertising and market activities that use the Norwegian language. Norwegian speaking customer service agents will also not be offered.

Kindred say that despite all these changes, the Norwegian regulator still claims that Trannel still target residents of Norway. A Kindred statement said that “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.”

The statement added that Lotteritilsynet “does not have jurisdiction over Trannel as the company is domiciled in Malta and duly licensed by the Maltese Gaming Authority.” For that reason, Kindred are “confident” that the fine cannot be enforced outside of Norway.

An application for a Norwegian gambling licence has been made by Kindred. Currently though, only Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto can offer online gambling services in Norway. The Norwegian regulator don’t agree with the rules set out in the Gambling Act and would prefer a “non-discriminatory” licensing system that allows private operators.

Kindred also believe there should be a “locally licensed, transparent and non-discriminatory gambling market in Norway.” Allowing responsible operators who are supervised by “competent authorities is the best solution for Norwegian society, players and operators,” says Kindred.