Posted on: February 16, 2022, 09:42h.
Last updated on: February 16, 2022, 10:24h.
Kindred has been given an ultimatum in Norway. Its Trannel International gaming subsidiary either needs to leave the country or face increasing fines until it does.
Lottstift, Norway’s gambling regulator, is laying down the law.
It is accusing Kindred subsidiary Trannel International, the company behind Unibet and others, of operating illegally in the country. It wants the platform to exit immediately.
If it doesn’t, Lottstift warns that it will begin to fine the company €120,000 (US$134,000) per day until it finally gives in.
Trannel ‘Stealing’ From Norwegians
It’s a little prophetic that Magnus Carlsen is a Unibet ambassador. The gaming operator is involved in an ongoing chess match with Norway’s Lottstift.
The regulator calls Trannel a “repeat offender” in a notice, arguing that it continues to ignore warnings that have been issued for the past couple of years. During this time, the operator has continued to turn a profit from its activity, and all of that revenue is illegal.
When a gambling company that operates illegally in Norway can earn NOK 437 million (US$48.9 million) on its illegal activity within a year, we owe it to the Norwegian people to do what we can to stop the illegal activity,” said Norwegian Lotteries Foundation General Director Atle Hamar.
Both Lottstift and the Norwegian Lotteries Foundation (NFL) have ordered Trannel to immediately halt all operations. The company also needs to swiftly show how it will respond to the order. However, just like the previous orders to stop its activity, Trannel is ignoring this one.
Operator Claims Discrimination
The feud between the regulator and the gaming operator has been going on for more than three years.
When Norway introduced IP and payment restrictions four years ago, Trannel took it personally. It argued that the new rules unfairly singled out the company and were beyond the regulator’s power.
Trannel tried to find support in the Norwegian legal system. In 2019, it sued the regulator, arguing that Lottstift was in the wrong and that it should be able to offer its games since it was licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority.
But the suit fell on deaf ears. Both Norway’s Ministry of Culture and the NLF refused to support the suit. Subsequent appeals failed, as well, with the last ruling made on March 12 of 2020.
“Six out of 10 Norwegians do not know that gaming sites such as Unibet, Maria Casino, High Roller and Bingo.com offer their games illegally in Norway. We want to protect those who have problems with gambling and now hope Trannel chooses to comply with the law,” Hamer said.
Operations Continue … For Now
Since then, Trannel has still tried to find legal relief from government sources, but to no avail. As a result, every time a Norwegian user accesses the site, he or she does so illegally, according to the regulator.
The next stop for Trannel is the Oslo District Court. It is continuing its fight and hopes the court will rule differently than all the other times. The case will be heard this May. The operator believes it has the right to continue operating in the country until then.
Kindred hasn’t publicly offered an opinion of the latest move by Lottstift. A request for comment was still pending at the time of publication, as well.