A subsidiary of Kindred Group was issued with a hefty fine for operating without a license in Norway and refusing to stop operations, the Norwegian Lotteries Authorities confirmed Thursday.
Illegal Operations to Cost Annual Income
Trannel, the Malta-licensed subsidiary of Stockholm-listed Kindred Group and operator of the group’s flagship Unibet brand, which is the main sponsor of Sweden’s first and second professional soccer leagues Allsvenskan and Superettan, is facing a fine of NOK1.198 million ($117,164) per day in Norway for refusing to stop operations the Norwegian gaming regulator deemed to be illegal.
Commenting on the announcement, Henrik Nordal, department director at the Norwegian Lotteries Authority, Lottstift, was adamant that when a gambling company makes NOK437 million ($42.7 million) a year from illegal operations, the regulator has a duty to the Norwegian people and those who struggle with gambling problems to do whatever it takes to stop the illegal activities.
Lottstift outlined that Trannel-operated brands Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller, and Bingo continue to offer games in Norway despite having no permission from the Norwegian gaming regulator to do so.
The offers are confusing to Norwegian people as six out of ten Norwegians do not know that gaming with these brands is illegal in the country, according to a survey cited by the regulator. Moreover, people “can lose much more money on these games than … on the corresponding legal games,” the watchdog outlined.
“One of our most important societal missions is to protect those who have gambling problems or who are at risk of developing a gambling problem,” Nordal continued in the press release, stating the regulator’s expectation that Trannel should “take social responsibility and withdraw from the Norwegian gaming market.”
Operating in Norway with License Issued by MGA
Kindred Group’s tussle with the Norwegian Lotteries Authority dates back to April 2019 when Lottstift issued its subsidiary with a cease and desist order for operating in Norway with a license issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
Earlier this year, Trannel was warned by the regulator that if operations in Norway without acquiring the appropriate license continue, the company will be sanctioned with NOK1.2 million ($117,360) per day to a total of its annual income estimated at NOK437 million.
In June, Kindred Group received a blow to its legal attempt to overturn the cease and desist order issued by Lottstift after the Oslo District Court refused to accept Kindred’s arguments that holding a gambling license issued by the MGA was enough for it to offer its services across the European Economic Area (EEA) and confirmed that Trannel should leave the market.
The Oslo District Court ruling followed previous setbacks suffered by Kindred at the hands of the Ministry of Culture and the Lottery Board, as well as overturned appeals with the Oslo City Court, Oslo Court of Appeals and the Norwegian Supreme Court.