Kindred Gives in to Norway’s Gaming Regulator, Will Stop Targeting the Country

Posted on: October 10, 2022, 08:16h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2022, 01:00h.

Kindred is throwing in the towel. The online gaming operator had promised to fight Norway to the bitter end in order to serve the country, but has now had a change of heart.

Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström
Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström participates in an interview earlier this year. The gaming company has decided to quit targeting Norway after years of fighting the government. (Image: LinkedIn/Kindred Group)

The decision comes as a surprise, as it was only a couple of weeks ago that Kindred reiterated its stance that it would never back down. This was an echo of the same position it has held for at least the past four years.

Not even the threat of a fine of as much as $42.7 million was enough to make Kindred change its mind. Something in the background happened, though, to cause Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström to reconsider the company’s stance.

No Way in Norway

Kindred, whose Trannel operations cover Norway, hasn’t said much about its decision, other than it’s taking a diplomatic approach. It won’t directly target Norwegian gamblers. But it won’t reject them, either.

Trannel will take down all Norway-facing websites, as well as the option for users to set their preferred language to Norwegian. In addition, Trannel won’t offer any Norwegian advertising or marketing, and will quit providing instructions on how to get around bans on payment processing.

This, it says, is a “goodwill” decision that allows the company to appease Norwegian’s gaming regulator, Lotteritilsynet. At the same time, it remains steadfast in its belief that European law gives it the right to operate in the country.

Kindred has a gaming license from the Malta Gaming Authority. This, in its opinion, is sufficient to be able to serve any country in the European Union (EU). Norway disagrees, with only state-licensed Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto legally able to offer online gaming.

Lotteritilsynet previously announced that it would hit Kindred with a fine of NOK1.198 million (US111,630) every day it remained active in the country. Now that the company is backing down, so is the regulator.

The decision doesn’t mean that Kindred is giving up completely. Despite consistently losing legal battles in Norway, it still wants to take its case to the EU.

Win Some, Lose Some

While things might not be going Kindred’s way in Norway, it’s getting some praise in its home country of Sweden. Karriärföretagen, an employment agency in the country, has listed it as one of the best “Career Companies” in a new survey.

The “2022 Career Opportunities Survey” names Kindred “one of Sweden’s most attractive employers.” This past September, it was “ranked fifth out of 173 companies,” according to the data Karriärföretagen collected to complete the survey.

Kindred’s technology acceleration program is proving to be a big success as well. The program was singled out during the ceremony for its focus on tech employees. Kindred Tech Employee Experience Lead Johan Engberg stated that, of the 21 employees who began the program two years ago, 20 are still there.