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Kindred Receives Continued Ban on Targeting Norwegian Market

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The Norwegian gambling regulator Lottstift has won its case against Trannel International, a subsidiary of Kindred Group plc, in the Borgarting Court of Appeal.

Lottstift had initially ruled that Trannel's casino brands, including Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller, and Bingo.com brands, had been illegally offering their online gambling services to players in Norway without a license. It has then issued Kindred a cease and desist order, instructing the Swedish gambling operator to stop targeting Norway.

Kindred challenged the order in court, arguing that Lottstift lacks any legal precedent in Norwegian or European Economic Area (EEA) law to justify the restrictions imposed on its business. The operator also asserted that Norway's monopoly system violates European law.

Norway operates a gambling monopoly through two state-owned companies called Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Only these two operators have the exclusive rights to offer various forms of gambling, including lotteries, sports betting, and casino in the country.

Kindred's suit began a five-year legal battle that seems to have now ended with the latest judgment from the Borgating Court of Appeal, which upheld Lottstift's ruling. The court also ordered the betting company to pay the state's legal costs.

According to the regulator, the court's verdict reaffirms its position on unlicensed offshore gambling and reinforces its call for Trannel to fully exit the Norwegian market.

The fact that Trannel is not supported on a single point of view, shows that the work we do to get illegal companies out of the Norwegian market is solid and well-established. The verdict confirms that the Lotteries and Foundations Authority's decision to stop the illegal gambling offer was correct. Now we expect the company to withdraw completely from the Norwegian market.

Atle HamarLottstift director

Threat of Daily Fines

With the latest ruling, it is unclear whether Kindred would continue offering its services in Norway. If it persists, the regulator will likely renew its €100,000 daily fines against the operator. In September last year, Lottstift announced that it would fine Kindred NOK1.198m (€114,000) per day if it continued accepting bets from customers in Norway.

However, the regulator put a hold on the fines after getting assurance from Kindred that it would stop targeting the market as it continues pursuing legal action against Norway's monopoly system.

The operator then changed the language on its sites from Norwegian to English and removed Norwegian flags from all channels. Additionally, it ceased all advertising and marketing in Norwegian and stopped offering Norwegian-speaking customer service.

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