Kindred assessed SEK100m penalty for Swedish bonus violations: appeal forthcoming

Malta-based online gambling operator, Kindred Group, has been fined SEK 100m ($10m) by the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) for offering customer bonuses and incentives in such a way as to be considered an infraction of the Swedish Gambling Act.

After in March 2019 reviewing the gaming company’s website and subsequently finding that it offered “several different unauthorized bonuses,” Kindred subsidiary, Spooniker Ltd., was levied the fine by the SGA.

Later that same year in May and June, additional checks by the gambling authority uncovered bonus offers that were reportedly in violation of the Gaming Act, with games not within the scope of the company’s license also being offered.

Penalty equal to the offense:

The findings, resulting in the regulatory body issuing a warning and sanction fee to the company, with the steep penalty fee commensurate with the number of violations in addition to the subsidiary’s high turnover.

On its website, Kindred explained that it…

…”initially made a different interpretation of what is considered a bonus and it is this interpretation which the SGA has disputed. During the spring in 2019, Kindred adopted a more restrictive interpretation of the law. Kindred will appeal the SGA’s decision to obtain judicial guidance on how the new legislation should be interpreted. Until recently issued warnings and fines issued to other licence holders are tried in court and enforced, Kindred will continue to adopt a strict interpretation.

“Kindred is of the opinion that the Swedish Gambling Act adopted on 1 January 2019 has been vague in areas related to commercial activities and thereby creating unnecessary ambiguity. Kindred welcomes more clarity in these areas and continues to improve its operations to ensure full compliance,” the Maltese operator’s statement concluded.

Kindred operates its Storspelare, Bingo.com, iGame, Maria Casino and Unibet brands in Sweden, while Spooniker is licensed for commercial iGaming and online betting and provides games by way of the Swedish domains of each.

Multi-state agreement:

In related news, Kindred recently signed an agreement with Caesars Entertainment that provides it with market access in Iowa and Indiana, and potentially more states, to operate iGaming and online sports betting pending the passage of applicable local legislation and its receipt of the necessary gaming licenses.

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