SBC News Kindred faces high-profile customer liability lawsuit in Stockholm

Kindred faces high-profile customer liability lawsuit in Stockholm

Kindred Group faces a high-profile legal challenge in Sweden as Stockholm’s District Court begins the hearing of a lawsuit brought by Per Holknekt.

The fashion designer and founder of Odd Molly has accused Kindred Group and its subsidiary Spooniker Ltd of “feeding his gambling addiction, which spiralled out of control”.

Prior to the lawsuit, Holknekt admitted to Swedish media that he had “wasted a total of SEK 100m (£8.7m) on 30 different online gambling companies”.

Kindred brands were detailed as Holknekt’s preferred choice, in which he claims to have “lost over SEK 26m (€2.3m) on Unibet alone”.

Last summer, Holknekt filed legal proceedings against Kindred in which he sought SEK 10m (€1m) in damages.

A campaigner for Swedish gambling reforms, Holknekt told the media that he had worked with data experts to provide the court with a long list of control deficiencies and irregularities in how Kindred exploits gambling addiction and its shortcomings on money laundering duties.

Swedish media report that the claims made by Holknekt against Kindred took place prior to Sweden’s new Gambling Act being sanctioned in 2019.

Kindred Group acknowledges the legal proceedings but has chosen not to comment or make any statements regarding the lawsuit.

Customer liability has come to the forefront of Swedish gambling’s agenda. In December, the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal ordered Betsson AB to pay SEK 5.8m (€600,000) to a former customer for “aggravating his mental illness”.

The court ruled that Betsson had targeted the “customer suffering from mental illness” with “aggressive marketing offers” and that Betsson employees had encouraged him to continue to gamble.

Mirroring Kindred’s lawsuit, Betsson’s infringements took place prior to the Swedish Gambling Act of 2018.

In 2024, the Swedish government will implement new online gambling amendments from 1 April 2024, strengthening consumer protections and increasing fines for AML infringements.

From 1 April 2024, online gambling licensees will be required to assess and analyse data concerning a player’s health and financial status, deemed necessary to “protect consumers from excessive gambling”.

Approved by Finansdepartementet, Sweden’s Ministry of Finance, the proposed changes include an increase in penalty fees for gambling companies found in violation of the Money Laundering Act.

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