Gambling operator Kindred faces a $42 million fine if it does not leave Norway

Posted: September 20, 2022, 9:25 a.m.

Last update on: September 20, 2022, 11:57 a.m.

Despite having already lost several legal battles in the country, gaming operator Kindred refuses to leave Norway. He insists that he has the right to provide gambling services in the country. But gaming regulator Lotteritilsynet told him to get out or risk a multi-million dollar fine.

Henrik Tjarnstrom, CEO of Kindred
Kindred CEO Henrik Tjarnstrom speaks at a recent conference. The gaming company was once again given an ultimatum to leave Norway or face a huge fine. (Image: Yogonet)

Kindred has been fighting the Norwegian video game regime for a few years. It accepts Norwegian bettors on its Unibet platform through its subsidiary Trannel, but Lotteritilsynet has not issued it a license.

This detail doesn’t matter to Kindred, which recently bragged about its attention to responsible gambling. He doesn’t need a license, he claims, because Norwegian gambling laws are unfair.

Get out or get fined

The lottery regulator has already warned Kindred that it faces significant fines if it does not stop serving customers in Norway. He drew a new line in the sand this week, saying the game company will have to pay NOK 437 million ($42.7 million) if it doesn’t leave within a year.

This is the same figure Lotteritilsynet provided when it warned Kindred last February. The amount is said to be equal to the company’s annual gross profit from Norwegian bettors, although it is difficult to substantiate this claim.

Unibet is just one of the Kindred platforms available to Norwegian consumers. The others are Mariacasino, Storspiller, and Bingo, none of them received an operating license. For this reason, the Norwegian Gaming Authority believes that Kindred is a danger to Norwegian society.

The organisation’s director, Henrik Nordal, has repeatedly criticized Kindred for its refusal to follow the rules. However, one of his arguments does not stand up to scrutiny. He claims that because Kindred’s platforms operate illegally in the country, players have a greater risk of losing more money on them than on licensed platforms.

Kindred and Norway have been locked in their battle since 2019. Several courts have already determined that the platform operates illegally in the country. However, Kindred stubbornly refuses to accept the laws of the land.

Kinship not alone

Kindred isn’t the only gaming company facing an eviction notice. Sweden recently took action against Ease Gaming NV, the operator behind Casineia, Slothive, Gamblii, and Jinxcasino.

The Curacao-based online gaming platform operates freely in the country without a license. Despite a recent announcement that it would not tackle unlicensed platforms, gaming regulator Spelinspektionen changed its mind with Casenia.

Spelinspektionen does not want the online casino in the country and has verified that it targets Swedes before calling it. He has proof that Casenia provides Swedish-language content on its website, that Sweden is an option available during registration, and that it provides Swedish customer support.

Narrative Ease of play leaving is only the first step in the deportation process. If the company ignores the order, Spelinspektionen can impose a fine. If that fails, the next step is to get the police involved.

Ease of play has a mixed reputation in the gaming community. On CasinoGrounds.com, a user did some research that led them to conclude that the platform might be using pirated software. Another called him “completely untrustworthy” but was unable to back up his conclusion with hard facts.

Many companies – legitimate or not – have often turned to Curacao for their gambling license due to the country’s lax policies. However, changes are coming to its gambling regulations that will disrupt who does business there and how.