Norwegian regulator to reinstate daily fines for Kindred Group
The Norwegian gaming regulator, Lotteritilsynet, has announced that it will begin enforcing the daily fine it had previously imposed on Kindred Group and its Trannel International franchise.
This fine, which was issued in September of this year, came as a result of Trannel International’s operations in the region without a license. The sum of NOK 1.198 million (€ 113,930) was issued to the franchise and is to be paid on a daily basis as long as it continues its operations in the region.
According to Lotteritilsynet, Trannel, which is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, delivers its Mariacasino, Unibet, Storspiller, and Bingo offerings to customers in Norway, despite the fact that the company does not have authorization to run gambling operations in the country.
Kindred Group has since then made efforts to comply with the “cease and desist” order that was issued by the regulator. The gambling operator has removed the Norwegian flag from its website, deleted the Norwegian language option, and also complied with the prohibition on advertising or public relations endeavors in Norwegian. Due to this compliance, the regulator suspended the daily penalties.
The Director of Lotteritilsynet, Henrik Nordal, said in a comment early in September: “We have decided to ‘pause’ the compulsory fine of NOK 1.2 million per day as Trannel, which is behind Unibet and Maria Casino, states that it will comply with Norwegian law.
“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 of these.”
Although the regulator has revealed it is beginning its daily fine on the operator, there are reports that Kindred Group is still permitting Norwegian gamers to utilize the platform.
Kindred Group has also revealed that it is strongly contesting the reinstatement of the fine because it believes it has adhered to the regulator’s orders. The firm — which holds a gaming license in Malta — also noted that Norwegian players are free to access any foreign website of their choice that belongs to the European Union (EU).
“Despite these changes and Trannel’s clear communication to the contrary, Lotteritilsynet incorrectly claims that Trannel’s offering still targets Norwegian residents and has therefore decided to reinstate the coercive fine,” Kindred said.
“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.
“Lotteritilsynet does not have jurisdiction over Trannel as the company is domiciled in Malta and duly licensed by the Maltese Gaming Authority. Therefore, Kindred is confident that the coercive fine cannot be enforced by Lotteritilsynet outside of Norway.”
While Kindred Group already presented this case in 2019 and it was discarded by the court, the operator is still insisting on appealing. For the time being, the company will still be granting access to Norwegian players.
At the moment, only two companies are permitted under the national gambling act to operate in Norway: the state-owned Norsk Tipping and the private trust Norsk Rikstoto. Kindred Group has the intention of becoming the third, as it has already submitted an application for a license that has yet to be approved.