Rolf Francis Sims
Public Affairs Manager, Kindred Group
For our part, the main conclusion of the Aftenposten article does not match reality.
This is a discussion post. Opinions in the text are the responsibility of the writer.
In the article “Headwinds for foreign gambling in Norway”, Aftenposten has taken out of context a quote from the CEO of the Kindred Group, Henrik Tjärnström.
The main conclusion of the article is that the measures of the Norwegian Lottery Authority to protect the gaming monopoly are starting to take effect, and foreign gambling companies are increasingly struggling with the influx of Norwegian customers.
Kindred is a publicly listed company in Stockholm. We do not have the opportunity to provide specific figures for our markets. “Questions about the consequences of Norwegian measures are often dismissed with ‘business as usual’,” the newspaper notes. Instead, an older webcast from February this year is used. There, our CEO Henrik Tjärnström presented the figures for the fourth quarter of 2020.
Was not contacted
The article reads: “When asked if the company faces headwinds in some markets, Director Henrik Tjärnström responded as follows: If there is a country where we have a challenging market, it is Norway.”
In the webcast, the questions and answers are read as follows (translated directly from English):
– If you look at 2021 (…) besides Germany, are there other markets where you see potential for headwinds year after year?
– Norway has been a somewhat challenging market. We have the clear opinion that the government and authorities violate the integrity of citizens and have done so over time. It is not clear what will happen there. We do our best to provide customers with a safe and secure online entertainment experience.
Kindred was not contacted prior to the article. We take the initiative to deepen and clarify this. We were not allowed to speak, because the statement “stood up for itself” and “lack of space”.
That Kindred would reply
The essence of the answer that Aftenposten did not want to include was the following:
It is neither new nor particularly surprising that Kindred considers Norway a particularly challenging market. This is because the Norwegian authorities continually challenge the rights and integrity of Norwegian consumers.
The Norwegian model makes tackling problem gambling particularly challenging. It does not contain a common regulatory solution to reduce to zero the number of Norwegians with problematic gambling behaviors. Norway, along with Finland, which has a monopoly, is at the top of Europe in terms of gambling problems, compared to population.
It is not illegal for Norwegians to play for foreign companies. It is not illegal for EU regulated companies like us to offer entertainment-based gambling in an international online marketplace, where the free movement of goods and services across borders is the cornerstone of EEA cooperation. .
Such an answer, together with a correct reproduction of what Tjärnström actually said, would have qualified the main conclusion of the article.
For our part, the main conclusion does not agree with reality. For our brands, in fact, “business as usual” is a correct description. Increasingly loyal, active and existing customers ensure that the balance of power is virtually unchanged.