Swedish Court Reduces Kindred’s Bonus Rule Penalty

The Kindred Group will now pay less of a penalty for 2020 violations of Sweden’s gambling bonus rules. Sweden’s Administrative Court of Appeal has lowered its penalties to SEK 30 million ($2.8 million).

Swedish Court Reduces Kindred’s Bonus Rule Penalty

Sweden’s Administrative Court of Appeal has further reduced a penalty on the Kindred Group it received in 2020 for violations of bonus rules in 2019, Yogonet reported May 28.

The Spelinspektionen (Swedish Gambling Authority) imposed a sanction of SEK 100 million ($9.5 million), on the Spooniker subsidiary of the London-based online gaming operator, a fine that was then reduced to SEK 50 million ($4.7 million). The action by the Administrative Court of Appeal reduced it again to SEK 30 million ($2.8 million).

The initial fine was arrived at by SGA based on its determination that some offers, competitions and promotions qualified as financial incentives and were thus bonuses.

Casino licensees are banned from any bonus except a sign-up bonus. Investigators found illegal bonuses on websites owned by Kindred, including an online bingo loyalty program. Kindred unsuccessfully maintained that these were mechanics of the game and not bonuses.

Investigators in May and June 2019 found free spins, free online bingo and free bets, plus poker rewards and prize draws which SGA classified as an unlicensed lottery game.

These investigations resulted in the SEK 100 million fines and an official warning. Kindred cooperated with SGA to change its offerings—resulting in a reduced fine.

The following year a court reduced the fine to SEK 50 million, deciding that a “medium-high” fine was more in line with the infraction. The newest reduction is fine with Kindred, although it is now arguing that there shouldn’t be any fine.

It issued this statement: “Kindred is of the opinion that since the rules were vague, opening for different interpretations, the sanction fee should be reduced in its total.”