Swedish regulator issues Kindred £8.4m penalty fee for bonus violations

The Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen) imposed a heavy SEK 100m (£8.4m/€9.2m) penalty fee on Kindred Group for offering to players bonuses that were unauthorized and lotteries with no license! According to the Swedish regulator checks on the operator’s Unibet, Maria Casino, Storspelare, Bingo and iGame sites revealed a number of unauthorised bonuses.

According to the Swedish Gambling Act, iGaming companies can offer only a welcome bonus to players and Kindred brands had offered various other promotions around customer acquisition, poker, casino tournaments and cash draws, as well as a loyalty programme for online bingo in March 2019. Kindred declined that those offers constitute bonuses since they didn’t contain financial incentives and were instead more of an in-game mechanic.

After a second inspection the regulator not only consider the bonus violations to be serious, but it also noted that the prize draws it offered were not covered by its betting and gaming licences in the country. According to Spelinspektionen announcement on the issue: “However, since [Kindred] has amended its offer, and it is assumed that in future the company will not violate the rules on bonus offers or offering games that are not covered by its licence, Spelinspektionen considers that a warning alongside a penalty fee is a sufficient intervention”. The SEK100m penalty had been determined based on regulations stating that the penalty fee should not exceed 10% of a licensee’s turnover.

According to the operator “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.”

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