Kindred and other gaming operators will pay fines of more than $1 million in Sweden

Published on: November 23, 2022, 11:43 am.

Last updated: November 23, 2022, 11:43 am.

Sweden’s gaming authority, Spelinspektionen, said a few months ago that it would take a relaxed approach to online gambling, but still expects operators to follow certain rules. In particular, adherence to anti-money laundering procedures is a must, and the regulator is targeting a trio of companies, including Kindred, for not complying.

The Games in Sweden
View of Gamla Stan old town from Stockholm harbor, Sweden. The country’s gambling regulator has fined three gambling operators for AML irregularities. (Image: Trafalgar Tours)

Spelinspektionen fined Spooniker LTD, a Kindred company, SEK 10.9 million ($1.04 million) for AML deficiencies. It’s another recent headache for the gaming giant, which is also facing an eight-figure fine in Norway.

Kindred acknowledged its failures in a press release. It added that it had already taken steps to improve its operations but was considering appealing the fine.

Short fall

On 2 November 2021, Spelinspektionen started the supervision of Spooniker to check how the company complies with certain requirements of The Anti-Money Laundering Measures Act and Financing of terrorism (Money Laundering Act). The authority determined that Spooniker violated several points.

In addition to failing to properly comply with core AML policies, Spooniker, which operates bingo.se, Unibet.se and others, failed to comply Sweden’s Extended Due Diligence procedures. These include failing to ensure that high-risk customers provide evidence of their financial ability to gamble.

As a result, the regulator hit her with a big fine. However, Kindred stressed that it had already taken steps to improve its operations before Spelinspektionen acted.

In the future, Spooniker’s high-risk customers will need to be tracked more effectively, and the company will need to conduct deeper risk assessments on certain customers. This includes comprehensive spend and credit analysis, as well as examining the types of payments customers use.

Spooniker is already fulfilling its obligations and has also started offering risk assessments for more clients. It also provides more suspicious transactions (STRs) to the financial police, facilitated by a larger AML team.

Two other brands also received warnings and penalty charges for AML failures. ATG was fined SEK 6 million ($572,400) and Pinbet was fined SEK 2 million ($190,600).

The repeat offender

It’s not the first time Kindred’s Spooniker brand has run into trouble in Sweden. In 2020, following a review from the previous year, Spelinspektionen fined it SEK 100 million ($9.5 million) for offering bonuses and products for which it did not have a license.

Kindred also appealed the fine. It argued that ancillary offers were nothing more than in-game mechanics that did not constitute game options in their own right. He won, an administrative tribunal gave him a break last year.

The court acknowledged that Kindred had violated Sweden’s gaming rules, but determined that the amount of the fine was not justified. As a result, the company had to pay a fine of SEK 50 million ($4.77 million), half of the original amount.

Kindred, who just held her The Sustainable Gambling Conference in Sweden last week, found full relief in another dispute with the Swedish authorities. An appeals court ruled last December that the company did not breach the country’s COVID-19-induced deposit limit, which could have cost millions of dollars.

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