Norwegian Supreme Court rejects Kindred lawsuit

Trannel International has lost is final legal challenge against its prohibition in Norway.
Trannel International has lost is final legal challenge against its prohibition in Norway.

The court has refused to hear the case brought by Kindred’s Trannel International, which claimed unconstitutional behaviour by Norway’s gambling regulator.

Norway.- The Supreme Court Appeals Committee has unanimously decided that there are no grounds to hear a case brought by Kindred Group’s Norwegian subsidiary, Trannel International.

Trannel claimed that the Norwegian gambling regulator had acted unconstitutionally by imposing unfair restrictions on its operations to try to prevent it from offering online gambling in the country.

It had originally argued that Lotteritilsynet acted outside the scope of Norwegian law and overstepped its powers as regulator by blocking payments to its site and imposing a ban on Kindred apps appearing in the Apple App Store in Norway.

Trannel originally lodged the case against the Ministry of Culture in December 2018 but lost at the Oslo City Court and Court of Appeal level. It then took a challenge to the Supreme Court, arguing that Lotteritilsynet’s actions were unconstitutional and in breach of international law.

However, the Supreme Court Appeals Committee has rejected such an argument, saying that it would be an undue limitation of Norway’s ability to exercise authority as a sovereign state.

Kindred said: “We have acknowledged that the Supreme Court has chosen not to hear Trannel’s appeal in the case. We find this unfortunate as it raises many principle issues regarding the Norwegian Gaming Authority`s supervision of national law outside Norwegian territory.

“We would however like to emphasise that despite the Authority’s efforts we have not experienced a shift in Norwegian players’ wish to seek entertainment by playing online outside Norway, but within the EU, to gain access to more diverse gaming offers and better odds.”

The committee’s decision comes a week after The Borgarting Court of Appeal supported the legality of Norway’s monopoly system for gambling, under which Norsk Tipping has exclusive rights to offer most forms of gaming.

The lottery operator Norsk Lotteri AS had lodged a legal challenge after its application for a gambling licence in Norway was denied. It argued that Norsk Tipping’s monopoly breached article 31 of the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.

Presenting its new unified Gambling Act last month, the Norwegian government promised tougher action on unlicensed igaming operations targeting players in Norway. The new Gambling Act aims to maintain and strengthen the monopoly held by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto.

One of the ways it seeks to do that is by allowing the imposition of fines on any other company that tries to offer gambling products to players in Norway, including fines against affiliates.

See also: Norwegian gaming regulator orders BML Group to leave market

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