Kindred’s Strange Feud With Norway Suddenly Ends
For quite some time now, Kindred has insisted on operating in the Norwegian market. Now, all of a sudden, the company has decided to lay down its arms.
The world of online casino legislation is an interesting one. Not all casino companies always agree with the rules and regulations that are in place. As a matter of fact, this is often due to the complex nature of international gambling laws.
For around four years, Kindred—which is one of the biggest online casino companies in the Nordics—has been at odds with changing Norwegian regulations. Even today, Norway is known as one of the most strict online casino gaming jurisdictions. The Norwegian gaming regulator Lotteritilsynet does not let anyone outside of Norway operate on its soil. The state basically has a complete monopoly on everything related to gambling.
In the past, Kindred has shown defiance and vowed not to leave Norway. The basis for this decision has been the argument that the company’s Malta Gaming Authority-licensed casinos should be able to serve any country in the European Union. Lotteritilsynet, however, has long vehemently disagreed with this assessment, even going as far as to threaten Kindred with around 100,000 euros in fines for every single day that the company allegedly proceeds to break Norwegian gaming laws.
Now, even after recently claiming that the company would stay until the bitter end, the Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström has seemingly had a change of heart—even if the company is still going to continue its talks with the EU to find out whether its opinion holds water.
Here is what Kindred’s withdrawal means:
- Taking down Norwegian websites
- Deleting the Norwegian language from its casinos’ language options
- Stopping advertising in Norway
- Quitting providing instructions on how to circumvent payment processing bands
It remains to be seen what the EU will have to say when Kindred ultimately plead its case.
Again, Norway’s stance on online gambling regulation has been a major topic of discussion for several years. Despite trying to restrict the usage of the internet and putting bans on online banking, the country has been mostly unsuccessful in weeding out international companies. VPN gambling services as well as the usage of e-wallets and other alternative payment methods have proven to be too hard to control.
Besides, breaking unusually strict rules such as these might not make people feel morally in the wrong. If something is legal in other parts of the world—including in neighbouring countries such as Finland and Sweden—, people might be more inclined to break such laws in their own home country.
Kindred obviously had its financial reasons for continuing to operate in Norway and turning a blind eye to local laws. In a less contested market such as this, they most certainly had a lot to gain—and just as much to fight for.