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Kindred Embroiled in Customer Liability Dispute in Stockholm

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The Stockholm District has begun proceedings for a lawsuit filed against Kindred Group by Per Holknekt in Sweden.

According to Per Holknekt, the betting company and its subsidiary, Spooniker Ltd, had allegedly contributed to his escalating gambling addiction. The founder of Odd Molly filed a lawsuit against Kindred last summer, aiming for SEK 10m (€1m) in damages.

Before the legal action, Per Holknekt confessed to Swedish media that he had spent a total of SEK 100m (£8.7m) across 30 various online gambling companies. He also claimed that Kindred brands, particularly Unibet, were his favorite choices, with losses exceeding SEK 26m (€2.3m) on Unibet alone.

Kindred Group Faces Lawsuit

As an advocate for Swedish gambling reforms, Holknekt informed the media that he had collaborated with data experts to present the court with an extensive list of irregularities and lapses in Kindred’s operations, which encourages money laundering and allows the group to exploit gambling addiction.

However, reports from Swedish media indicated that Holknekt's allegations against Kindred occurred before the enactment of Sweden's new Gambling Act in 2019.

The Swedish Gambling Act of 2019 established a more controlled and transparent Sweden gambling market by introducing a licensing system for both domestic and international operators. The legislation also sought to improve consumer protection, prevent problem gambling, and address issues like money laundering in the jurisdiction.

While Kindred Group acknowledges the legal proceedings, they have not provided comments or statements on the lawsuit.

The issue of customer liability has taken center stage in the Swedish gambling landscape. Kindred’s legal case comes barely a month after another gambling operator, Betsson AB was ordered by the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal to compensate a former customer with SEK 5.8m (€600,000) for worsening his mental illness.

According to the court rulings, Betsson had deliberately targeted the “customer suffering from mental illness” with “aggressive marketing offers", and Betsson employees had actively encouraged his continued gambling.

New Customer Protection Laws

Since 2019, the Swedish government has been implementing measures to ensure safer gambling and player protection in its jurisdiction. Starting April 1, 2024, the Swedish government will enforce new online gambling amendments that will strengthen consumer protections and increase fines for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) violations.

Licensed operators in the country will be required to evaluate and scrutinize data related to a player's health and financial situation to protect them from excessive gambling.

The proposed regulations have been approved by the Finansdepartementet, Sweden’s Ministry of Finance, and carry increased penalty fees for betting companies that breach the Money Laundering Act.

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