Norway Kindred court battle

PokerStars confirms Norway exit for ‘commercial reasons’

PokerStars has become the latest operator to confirm its exit from the Norwegian market. 

Last week, the company began proceedings, informing Norwegian customers of its pending departure. The online poker room will cease its offering on 26 October. 

The flagship poker room of Flutter Entertainment is joining competitors bet365, Kindred, ComeOn, and Betsson in withdrawing from the market. 

PokerStars confirmed to poker news sources that its decision was for ‘commercial reasons’. It instructed Norwegian customers to close their accounts and withdraw all existing funds. 

In September, following consecutive years of legal conflicts, Lottstift, Norway’s Gambling Authority, declared that all unlicensed operators must discontinue their illegal offerings or face severe financial consequences. 

The threat was made directly against 15 websites, primarily operated by Kindred, Betsson, and ComeOn. Lottstift made no mention of PokerStars’ market activity.  

Lottstift stated that new rulings by Storting (Parliament) had granted the authority direct powers to block IP access to illegal websites and to demand that Norwegian banks and financial services terminate monetary transactions with unlicensed operators.  

Before the enforcement, Lottstift had been involved in several lawsuits against European operators who disputed the gambling authority’s rules. They argued that these rules favored the monopoly practices of Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto, and were in breach of EU competition laws. 

September’s announcement was deemed by Lottstift Director Henrik Nordal as a decisive victory for Norway, ending the activities of unlicensed operators, who will no longer be able to target national consumers.

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