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Kindred Group has lost its appeal case against the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA), which has demanded the operator exit the market.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal upheld the NGA’s decision to cease Kindred-subsidiary Trannel International from offering its services in Norway.

“We now expect the company to withdraw completely from the Norwegian market,” said NGA-director Atle Hamar (pictured).

Kindred Group has also been instructed to pay legal costs to the Ministry of Culture and Equality.

This ruling is the latest development in a legal dispute that began in 2019.

The NGA said Trannel, which is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, offered its Unibet, Maria Casino, Storspiller and Bingo brands to customers in Norway, where it does not have permission to operate gambling.

In September 2022, the NGA imposed a compulsory daily fine of €116,676 (NOK1.2m) on Trannel until the operator ceased its activities in the country.

The operator disagreed with the fine and argued that that it is not illegal for Norwegians to use cross-border services, including online gambling.

In accordance with EEA law

Norwegian Culture and Equality Minister Anette Trettebergstuen stated that the court found that the Norwegian exclusive rights model is in accordance with EEA law. 

She added that the outcome of the case was not surprising, as it aligns with previous rulings that have supported the state in similar gambling-related lawsuits.

Last year, Kindred Group made some changes to its offering “as a sign of good faith” and decided to only “passively accept customers residing in Norway.”

A spokesperson for Kindred Group expressed disappointment with the verdict but emphasised that it does not alter the company’s belief in the need to abolish the gambling monopoly to enhance consumer protection and increase the state’s income for distribution to sports and volunteering.

“It is also worth pointing out that it is perfectly legal for Norwegians to play at foreign gambling companies. We will continue to challenge the monopoly in all arenas, and in all forums, where a fact-based discussion is opened,” the company said.