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Kindred Group receives warning from Norwegian regulator

15 February 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The company behind online gaming site Unibet, among others, could face a penalty that could reach nearly NOK 437 million in a year if it does not stop the illegal gambling offer in Norway.

The Lottery Authority notifies Trannel International Limited, which is behind the unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller and Bingo online gaming sites, that they will receive a forced fine of NOK 1,198 million per day if the illegal gambling offer does not cease. The daily penalty stops running when the total amount reaches iTrannel's annual gross profit, which the Lottery Authority has estimated at around NOK 437 million. Trannel is a subsidiary of Kindred Group.

"When a gambling company that operates illegally in Norway can make NOK 437 million from its illegal activity within a year, we owe it to the Norwegian people to do what we can to stop the illegal activity," says Director of the Lottery and Foundation Authority Atle Hamar.

The gambling company does not have permission from the Norwegian authorities to offer gambling in Norway. On 5 April 2019, the Lottery Authority made a decision against Trannel with an order to stop and offer gambling in Norway without Norwegian permission. The company appealed the decision to the Ministry of Culture and the Lottery Board, but was not allowed to comply with any of the appeal bodies. The deadline for complying with the decision expired on 12 March 2020, when the appeal case had been decided.

As Trannel waited for consideration in the appeal bodies, they asked Oslo District Court to assess the validity of the decision. The Lottery Authority and the two appeals bodies have all rejected Trannel's request for deferred implementation of the decision, pending court proceedings. The case is due to appear in Oslo District Court in May 2022.

"We take seriously the fact that the illegal gambling offer has not yet ceased. Therefore, the Lottery Authority announces that we will now make a decision on enforcement action if Trannel does not stop offering illegal gambling in Norway," says Hamar.

The Lottery Authority has on several occasions asked Trannel to provide information on how they will comply with the decision, without the company having followed up on this.

– Six out of ten Norwegians do not know that gambling sites such as Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller and Bingo offer their games illegally in Norway. We want to protect those who have problems with gambling and now hope Trannel chooses to comply with Norwegian law," says Hamar.

In the notification, it is informed that the enforcement fine will start two weeks after the decision has been made and will run until the illegal conditions cease, or until the maximum amount has been reached. The Lottery Authority will consider waiving enforcement fines if Trannel makes a written statement with concrete proposals and a plan for how they will comply with the decision.

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