Finland Police Board hands fine &
marketing prohibition to Betsson’s BML Group
Finland’s National Police Board has issued a conditional fine of €2.4m, as well as a marketing activity prohibition order, to Betsson subsidiary BML Group.
In the statement, the police board noted that BML had targeted customers in mainland Finland across multiple channels “for an extensive period”, posting material online that “directly or indirectly promote the sales of gambling services” in the country, which is not allowed under the Finnish Lotteries Act.
The act states that companies that don’t hold a licence under the Lotteries Act are prohibited from marketing to the country’s mainland, where a monopoly on gaming, betting and lottery is held by state-owned firm Veikkaus.
The law enforcement agency noted that BML had been given several chances to present a statement regarding the activity, and although the company did “introduce some changes related to the marketing channels it uses”, the marketing in mainland Finland continued.
The police board estimated that BML, licensed in the country under Betsson’s Malta Gaming Authority licence, had a “significant financial interest” in continuing the marketing activity despite previous control measures from the authorities.
As a result, on April 7, BML was issued a conditional fine of €2.4m and a marketing activity prohibition order. While the decision enters into force on June 3, BML is allowed to file an appeal by the same date.
The police board did take into account the measures taken by the Betsson subsidiary to reduce marketing, using that information as a “mitigating factor when the amount of the conditional fine was determined”.
Antti Koivula, Partner and Legal Advisor at Legal Gaming Attorneys at Law, commented: “This is breaking news, as it is the first time ever the National Police Board has issued a prohibition order and a conditional fine for an MGA licensed operator.
“The conditional fine of €2.4m is also record high, the previous record fine being on the level of €800,000. This decision has been long coming and it appears likely that another big operator will receive a similar, if not bigger, fine soon.”
BML is now prohibited from targeting customers in mainland Finland – including podcasts, video podcasts and articles – and from using Finnish celebrities in marketing. The order also applies to BML marketing on other websites used by the group.
To comply with the prohibition, BML must not publish new marketing material online that targets mainland Finland, remove all previous online sales promotion that doesn’t comply and refrain from marketing elsewhere.
The law enforcement agency added that if BML doesn’t comply with the prohibition, the imposed conditional fine will be enforced.