Kindred Group has faced significant regulatory hurdles in the Nordic markets over the past week, with two of its subsidiaries falling foul of authorities in Norway and Denmark.
Last week, the Norwegian Lotteries Authority informed the Nasdaq Nordic-listed gambling group’s Trannel International brand that it would be hit with a daily fine of NOK 1.2 million (€120,000) if it does not put an end to its operations in the country.
Norwegian authorities first moved against Trannel in 2019, requesting that the firm cease operations in Norway. The regulator now states that the aforementioned NOK 1.2 million financial penalty has been implemented due to the Kindred subsidiary’s lack of compliance with the original 2019 order.
Under the terms of the Norwegian Gambling Act, only the state-owned operator Norsk Tipping and private trust Norsk Rikstoto are permitted to offer gambling, and so the relevant authorities consider Trannel’s provision of betting products to consumers in the country to be illegal.
Addressing the ‘regulatory turbulence’ in a statement today, Kindred asserted that its actions in Norway are not illegal, maintaining that Norwegian consumers have the right to use cross-border betting services, comparing these products to those of eBay or Amazon.
Offering comment, Rolf Sims, Kindred’s Public Affairs Manager Norway, also argued that not only does Trannel’s operations not violate Norwegian law, but that the government’s actions are in themselves in violation of ‘fundamental freedoms within EEA-law” and fail to ‘organise a transparent licencing regime’ and a ‘truly consistent gambling policy’.
He continued: “The bigger issue is the flagrant incompatibility of the Norwegian regime with the fundamental principles of and established case law pursuant to EEA law and the legal consequences attached thereto.
“The lack of a transparent and objective licensing regime and the inconsistencies of the current regime disregard what should be the core policy focus, protecting local consumers.”
Subsequent legal efforts by Trannel to reverse the decision have so far been unsuccessful, with the Malta Gaming Authority-licenced (MGA) arguing regulatory practices in Norway are unfair.
Trannel has reportedly taken its case to the Oslo District Court to assess the validity of the decision made against its business, with a court hearing scheduled to take place in May, despite its appeals against the 2019 order being rejected by national courts.
Sims concluded: “Ensuring compliance with national and international laws contributes to a sustainable society. This also extends to Norway.
“A comprehensive judicial review of the legality of the order issued in 2019 and the gambling monopoly is for the benefit of Norwegian society, consumers and vulnerable players.”