Years of Legal Battles Finally Conclude with Court’s Recent Decision.
Operating in various gambling markets necessitates obtaining licenses, particularly in regions like Europe. Norway, known for its stringent gambling laws, has a closely regulated market overseen by local authorities. In 2019, the Norwegian Lottery Authority, Lottstift, issued a request to Trannel International Limited, a company owned by Kindred Group, one of the largest gambling operators globally, to cease its services to customers in the country.
Trannel, the company responsible for brands such as Unibet, Mariacasino, Storspiller, and Bingo, expressed disagreement with the initial decision made by the Norwegian authorities. They filed an appeal, which was subsequently rejected by both the Ministry of Culture and Equality and the Lottery Board in January and March of 2020, respectively. In February 2022, Lottstift issued a notice of a compulsory fine against Trannel. In June of the same year, the Oslo District Court affirmed the legality of the Authority’s decision to impose a suspension on Trannel.
Following the court’s ruling, the Lottery Authority implemented a daily compulsory fine of NOK 1.2 million ($108,600) against Trannel. The gambling watchdog stated that the fine would remain in effect until the operator ceased its “illegal gambling offer in Norway.” As expected, Trannel lodged a complaint against the fine, but their appeal was rejected by both the Ministry of Culture and Equality and the Lottery Board. Now, the Borgarting Court of Appeal has also dismissed Trannel’s appeal, supporting the Norwegian Lottery Authority and ultimately concluding the protracted legal disputes.
Lottstift Calls on the Company to Depart from the Norwegian Market
The recent announcement of the Borgarting Court of Appeal’s decision confirms the validity of Lottstift’s request for the company to withdraw from the Norwegian gambling market. Anette Trettebergstuen, the Culture and Equality Minister of Norway, stated that the court’s ruling acknowledges the compatibility of the Norwegian exclusive rights model with the European Economic Area (EEA) law. She further noted that the outcome of the lawsuit was not unexpected, as it aligns with previous judgments in the gambling sector where the state has consistently been supported.
Atle Hamar, the director of the Lotteries and Foundations Authority, provided additional insight on the matter. He stated that the recent court ruling validates the Authority’s decision to suspend Trannel. With the court’s decision, Lottstift expects Trannel to fully withdraw from the Norwegian market. Hamar concluded his remarks by expressing this anticipation.