Swedish Gambling Authority Reduces Kindred’s Fine After Successful Appeal

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The Key Points in Brief

The Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen, has reduced the fine for gambling company Kindred from an original SEK100 million to SEK30 million. This decision follows a successful appeal by Kindred against the original penalty, which was imposed for breaches of bonus regulations. Kindred, the company behind well-known brands such as Unibet and Maria Casino, had advertised unauthorized bonuses and lottery offers on its platforms.

Original Violations and Legal Proceedings

In March 2020, Spelinspektionen imposed a fine on Kindred for providing unregistered bonuses and lotteries, which violates Swedish gambling regulations. These stipulate that licensees may only offer sign-up bonuses and no further promotions. Upon closer inspection, however, several unauthorized bonuses were discovered on Kindred’s websites, including an online bingo loyalty program. Kindred argued that these incentives were part of the game and not bonuses. Further violations were identified in the following months, including offers for free spins, bingo benefits, and free bets.

Reduction of the Fine

Kindred appealed against the original penalty to the Administrative Court in Linköping. In July 2021, the court decided to halve the fine to SEK50 million, describing a “medium-high penalty fee” as more appropriate. Kindred continued its legal efforts and achieved a further reduction of the fine to SEK30 million. The company welcomed the ruling and emphasized that the ambiguities in the bonus rules justified a relaxation of the penalties.

Reactions and Consequences

Kindred has expressed its satisfaction with the reduced fine and highlighted that it has intensified its compliance efforts since the original warnings from the authorities. Spelinspektionen has not yet publicly commented on the latest development. This decision could have far-reaching implications for the gambling industry in Sweden, especially in terms of the interpretation and application of bonus regulations.

Our Assessment

The reduction of the fine for Kindred by the Swedish Administrative Court marks a significant moment for the gambling industry in Sweden. It shows that the courts are willing to carefully consider the circumstances and arguments of gambling providers, especially with regard to the often complex and ambiguous bonus regulations. For operators, this is a signal that compliance and transparency in their business practices are of vital importance. For the regulatory authorities, it may be an occasion to rethink existing regulations and develop clearer guidelines to avoid future misunderstandings. Overall, this is a positive step towards a fairer and more transparent gambling market in Sweden.

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