Defying a recent enforcement action by the Norwegian Lottery Authority (Lottstift), Kindred Group has stated that it will continue to operate as normal in the country.
In an interview with Swedish business news outlet Dagens Industri, Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström stated that the company will appeal the financial penalty and a cease and desist order.
The Swedish group operates in Norway via its Trannel International subsidiary, which manages the Unibet, MariaCasino, Storspiller and Bingo.com brands – all of which were ordered to shut down by Lottstift in both Q1 2022 and again earlier this month.
Lottstift informed the Stockholm NASDAQ enterprise that its gambling operations in the country were illegal, and that Malta-based Trannel would face ‘daily coercive fines’ of NOK NOK 1.2m (€120,000) for every day the brands remained active.
These penalties should reach a total of NOK 437m (€45m), which the regulator stated amounts to Trannel’s annual gross profit from its ‘illegal activities’ in the country, due to having received no permission to operate from the Norwegian authority.
However, Tjärnström remains unmoved, stating to Dagens Industri: “We will appeal the decision of Lotteritilsynet regarding the issuance of this sanction fee and will continue operating as usual, as long as the legal process is ongoing.”
The CEO further informed the outlet that Kindred is hopeful its appeal will progress as it climbs the legal ladder, arguing that it is local courts – namely the Oslo District Court – that have ruled in favour of Lottstift so far.
Asserting that this is a ‘bigger issue’ than one suited to local courts, Tjärnström remains optimistic that it will be easier to ‘get the point across’ at a higher legal level.
Kindred’s legal battle with Norwegian authorities has now gone on for several months, with its last appeal to the Oslo court rejected in support of Trannel’s suspension for illegal operations.
The firm maintains that its Norwegians should be free to choose to use foreign gambling services such as Kindred’s, which like its Trannel subsidiary is headquartered in Malta, if they so wish.
Lottstift’s decision, and the legal rulings in favour of it, form part of a wider approach by Norwegian authorities and agencies – including financial, media and advertising bodies – to strengthen their frameworks against unlicensed online betting and gaming, in place since 2019.