SBC News Kindred lowers Norwegian exposure but maintains legal stance against Lottstift

Kindred lowers Norwegian exposure but maintains legal stance against Lottstift

Kindred Group has announced that its Trannel International subsidiary will temporarily withdraw its brands from operating in the Norwegian market. 

This afternoon, Kindred published a statement detailing that as an ‘act of good faith Trannel would comply with desist orders demanded by Lottstift – Norway’s Gambling Authority. 

The long-running dispute between Kindred and Lottstift reached a boiling point this September, as Trannel had been threatened with daily coercive fines of NOK 1.2m (€120,000) if it did not retire the brands of Unibet, MariaCasino, Storspiller and Bingo.com in Norway,

Kindred initially responded that would continue to operate in Norway, in which it has ‘passively accepted customers’ and has long disputed Lottstift regulatory actions as being in breach of European Economic Area laws and further contradicting business rights granted by the Norwegian government. 

“Trannel maintains its position that it is fully legal for Norwegian residents to access and use gambling services licensed in the EU/EEA area, something which was also stated by the Norwegian Minister of Culture in a letter to the Parliament in 2021.” – read Kindred’s statement. 

Despite Trannel’s withdrawal, Kindred underlined that it would maintain a legal position against Lottstift, in which it holds a legal challenge contesting the regulator’s ongoing enforcement. 

Company leadership has outlined its preference to “seek a constructive and transparent dialogue with Norwegian authorities and Norwegian policy stakeholders.” 

The statement concluded that; “Kindred strongly believes that a locally licensed gambling market where responsible operators can operate under the supervision of competent authorities is the best solution for local societies, for players, and for operators.” 

“Kindred has filed several applications for local licenses in Norway. Kindred would be ready to, similar to Sweden and Denmark, work within a Norwegian licensing system compliant with EU/EEA law. Kindred believes that licenses must be awarded in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner.” 

Lottstift announced that it had temporarily paused its regulatory action against Trannel.  However, Kindred must ensure that its brand fully withdraw from the market, or Lottstift will quickly reactivate its coercive penalties.

The regulator issued key demands to ensure that Trannel brands are fully withdrawn from the market and maintain no visibility/engagement with national consumers.

“The Norwegian Lottery Authority also expects Trannel to inform its customers that the Norwegian Lottery Authority and the appeal bodies have decided that Trannel’s gambling offer in Norway is illegal.”

Lottstift  Director Henrik Nordal commented, “We will check carefully how Trannel complies with the conditions we have set for the postponement and will start the compulsory fine if we uncover a breach in any of these conditions”.

 

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