Kindred Group has announced that it will contest Lotteritilsynet's decision to reinstate daily fines against the operator and its Trannel International affiliate.
Lotteritilsynet informed Kindred in September that it would levy a fine of NOK1.198m (£98,902/€113,930/$116m) per day that Trannel remained in Norway.
The daily fine was scheduled to take effect three weeks after Lotteritilsynet made the decision to impose it. This judgement was made on September 14, after the regulator had previously warned the operator that it would impose sanctions if it did not withdraw from the market.
Lotteritilsynet declared the end of daily fines last month, following Kindred's announcement that Trannel will no longer target Norwegian consumers. However, Kindred stated that it simply did so as a gesture of goodwill and that its legal stance remained unchanged.
Kindred, having been informed that the daily fines will resume despite its actions, stated that it maintains its position that the legal basis for the "non-enforceable fine" is incorrect and that it will continue to dispute this in court.
Kindred explained the modifications it has made to Trannel, which include switching all sites from Norwegian to English, deleting all Norwegian flags from websites and channels, and renaming Storspiller with a non-Norwegian name.
In addition, all Norwegian-language advertising and marketing efforts were discontinued, as were Norwegian-speaking customer care representatives.
“Despite of these changes and Trannel’s clear communication to the contrary, Lotteritilsynet incorrectly claims that Trannel’s offering still targets Norwegian residents and has therefore decided to reinstate the coercive fine,” Kindred said.
“Trannel firmly disagrees with the assessment as it is fully legal for Norwegian residents to access and use international gambling services, which are licensed in the EU/EEA area and offered within a safe and secure environment, Kindred will continue to passively accept customers residing in Norway.
“Lotteritilsynet does not have jurisdiction over Trannel as the company is domiciled in Malta and duly licensed by the Maltese Gaming Authority. Therefore, Kindred is confident that the coercive fine cannot be enforced by Lotteritilsynet outside of Norway.”
Kindred reaffirmed that it has sought for a gaming licence in Norway in order to become an integral part of Norwegian society and a financial contributor to the nation. However, only state-owned Norsk Tipping and private trust Norsk Rikstoto are licenced to offer internet gambling services in Norway in accordance with the national Gambling Act.
The operator has previously spoken out against this arrangement and urged the country's government to consider instituting a "non-discriminatory" licencing mechanism to enable private operators to obtain licence in the country.
“Kindred strongly believes that a locally licensed, transparent and non-discriminatory gambling market in Norway where responsible operators can operate under the supervision of competent authorities is the best solution for Norwegian society, players and operators,” Kindred said.
By fLEXI tEAM