Norwegian regulator bans Kindred
The Norwegian Gambling Authority (NGA) has ordered Kindred Group to stop operating in the Norwegian market via its Trannel International Limited subsidiary.
The NGA deemed games featured on Unibet, Maria Casino, Grand Piano and Bingo.com were specifically targeted towards Norwegian players, since they offered deposits and prizes in the Norwegian currency (Norwegian Krona) and had Norwegian language chat support. Gambling operators specifically targeting Norwegian players contradicts local law.
The NGA has given Trannel three weeks to comply. However, Kindred Group will contest the decision on the basis that it is not compatible with EEA law. Kindred has filed an appeal with the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Lottery.
However, this runs the risk of being fined for each week past the deadline Kindred remains non-compliant. Multiple violations could also result in individuals being charged with up to three years in prison.
Speaking about the decision, a spokesperson for Kindred said:
Norway does not have the authority to intervene against activities that are lawfully operated in other countries. We therefore oppose the conclusions of the decision and will appeal this.– Statement, Kindred Group
Norwegian law dictates that two state run firms – Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto – have a monopoly on the industry.
Kindred and the NGA have a history. Back in February, the NGA ordered Norwegian banks to block transactions to and from overseas operators.
In that instance, the NGA issued cease and desist letters to a total of three operators, while the NGA had already written to four operators in November 2018 demanding that they stop targeting Norwegian consumers. The NGA also wrote to the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), where the operators were licensed, to demand it took action. Transaction blocks were also attempted in 2017.
That move was also met with resistance. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) filed a complaint against the NGA on the basis that the move breached consumer privacy protections.