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Kindred will stay in Norway and appeal daily fines

| By Marese O'Hagan
Kindred has announced that it will remain in the Norwegian market and appeal regulator Lotteritilsynet's decision to impose daily fines on its operations.

Lotteritilsynet announced that it would pursue the fines – of NOK1.198m (£103,700/€116,000/$111,700) for every day its Trannel subsidiary continues to operate in Norway – earlier this month.

The fine would come into effect three weeks from the day the regulator decided to issue it – which would be 5 October.

Earlier this year, Lotteritilsynet warned Kindred to withdraw from the Norwegian market or pay this fine, but Kindred said it would stay in the market as the operator did not believe it was in breach of any laws.

On 23 September, Henrik Tjärnström, CEO of Kindred, said that Kindred will appeal the fine.

“We will appeal the decision of Lotteritilsynet regarding the issuance of this sanction fee and will continue operating as usual, as long as the legal process is ongoing,” said Tjärnström. “We want to see how it pans out.”

Tjärnström said that Kindred disagrees with the idea that it is operating in Norway illegally. While only two busnesses are licensed by Norwegian authorities to offer online gambling, Tjärnström argued that Kindred was permitted to operate under European law as it holds a licence in Malta and is therefore covered by free movement of services in the European Economic Area.

“We dispute the claim that we have operations in Norway,” he continued. “We are licensed in Malta and believe that Norwegian customers under current European economic legislation have the right to play on foreign sites if they wish.

“There is nothing that sets Norway apart from other European states in that respect.”

Tjärnström also reiterated his belief that Norway would soon begin steps to create a fully regulated model where private operators can apply for licences.

“Again, time will tell as the process proceeds,” said Tjärnström. “But we are not doing anything wrong in Norway today.

“We accept traffic from Norwegian customers who find us in Malta and that is part of the legal framework that in our opinion prevails here. That’s our position.

“We are confident that we are doing nothing wrong and look forward to moving towards a locally regulated market in Norway as well.”

In July, Kindred lost an earlier lawsuit regarding the fine and its presence in Norway, though it then took this to a higher court to be appealed.

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