Kindred's Norway Fine On Tentative Hold

October 10, 2022
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​​​​​​​A deal has been struck between Kindred and the Norwegian Gambling Authority that means fines of NOK1.2m (€118,000) daily, with a cap of NOK437m, will be put on hold.

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A deal has been struck between Kindred and the Norwegian Gambling Authority (NGA) that means fines of NOK1.2m (€118,000) daily, with a cap of NOK437m, will be put on hold.

However, Henrik Nordal the director of the NGA, warned that “the penalty can still be quickly activated if they do not meet the conditions we have given in the decision”.

Nordal explained to VIXIO that the NGA is “in the process of providing guidance to Kindred of how to comply with both the terms of the coercive fine and the conditions set out for the fine not coming into effect pending their appeal”.

The conditions include requiring Kindred’s subsidiary to remove any “Norwegian online gambling site”, such as no.unibet.com, and remove the option to browse the sites in Norwegian.

All of Kindred’s Norwegian-language marketing activities, as well as any other marketing activities aimed at Norway, must also stop. No new customers from the country can be accepted.

Kindred is also not allowed to provide information on how to circumvent a ban on gambling payments for Norwegian customers.

Additionally, the NGA expects Kindred to tell its customers its offer in Norway is illegal.

“We will check carefully how Kindred complies with the conditions we have set for the postponement and will start the compulsory fine if we uncover a breach of these,” Nordal said.

Kindred responded with its own press release saying it will still “passively accept” customers from Norway.

“Kindred disagrees with the NGA’s statement and wishes to clarify that the group maintains its legal position provided for in the ongoing appeal,” the company said.

The changes are being made as the company says it is seeking a dialogue with different Norwegian authorities and reiterated that it would “work within a Norwegian licensing system compliant with EU/EEA law”.

Under EEA rules, Kindred has argued, the total gambling monopoly held in Norway by Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto should not be allowed.

A Kindred spokesperson told VIXIO GamblingCompliance that its latest statement is simply a “clarification” of its position.

Nordal also told VIXIO that Trannel’s comments on the legality of Norwegian residents' use and access to gambling services “is not relevant to this matter”.

“The fact that it is not illegal for Norwegian residents to use illegal providers in Norway doesn’t mean it is legal for anyone to provide gambling services to residents while in Norway. That goes for online and offline services alike,” Nordal said.

The regulator initially threatened Kindred’s subsidiary in February with daily fines over what it considers to be illegal operations, but Kindred challenged the enforcement action.

In a hearing on June 20, the Oslo District Court backed the regulator and gave it the go-ahead to continue; however, Kindred remained defiant in September when it was threatened with fines and has further appealed the Oslo ruling.

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