Get exclusive CAP network offers from top brands

View CAP Offers

Sweden slams Kindred Group with $9 million fine for bonus offers

The Kindred Group (formerly Unibet), a multinational online gambling operator is being hit with a $100 million SEK ($9.7 million USD) fine by the Spelinspektionen regulatory agency for offering unauthorized bonus offers to its players. It’s yet another sign that European and UK gambling regulators are dead serious about enforcing new rules and regulations that greatly restrict the marketing practices of online gambling operators.

At the center of the issue is a series of bonus offers made by Kindred Group subsidiary Spooniker Ltd. starting in March 2019. The first offer caught the eye of the Spelinspetionen but was followed by several, similar offers in the following months.

The bonuses in question would, apparently, have been all right had they been offered to first time customers. They offered players free spins, free bingo cards, and other non-financial incentives to play. Sweden, like many European countries, has been cracking down on bonus offers after the practice was widely abused in the industry by operators who offered deposit bonuses, but buried the difficulty of actually earning those bonuses in the fine print. But that’s not the kind of bonus that Kindred was offering in this case.

For that reason, Kindred Group officials say that they’re planning to appeal the fine. In a statement reported on SBC News, a company spokesperson said, “Kindred will appeal the SGA’s decision to obtain judicial guidance on how the new legislation should be interpreted. Until recently issued warnings and fines issued to other licence holders are tried in court and enforced, Kindred will continue to adopt a strict interpretation.

“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.”

This represents the first major challenge by an international operator to the newer, stricter bonus policies and will be a case the entire online gambling industry watches with interest.