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Betsson fined €2.4m over marketing breach in Finland

| By Robert Fletcher
BML Group, a subsidiary of Betsson AB, has been fined €2.4m (£2.1m/$2.6m) and prohibited from marketing its gambling services to players in Finland after the country’s National Police Board ruled it breached the Finnish Lotteries Act.
Finland gambling monopoly

According to the board, the Betsson subsidiary illegally targeted players in mainland Finland with its marketing efforts across a number of channels and media for an “extensive” period.

The Finnish Lotteries Act states only Veikkaus, the country’s gambling monopoly, is allowed to market its gambling offering to Finnish consumers.

The board said BML was presented with several opportunities to submit a statement on its views and to change activities to comply with law. During the hearing process, BML set out certain changes it had made to marketing, but the board said that the targeting of Finnish players had continued.

“The National Police Board estimated that BML has significant financial interest in continuing the activities and found that the illegal activities have continued for a long time regardless of the board’s previous control measures,” the board said.

“The National Police Board reviewed the measures undertaken by the company to reduce marketing and they were considered a mitigating factor when the amount of the conditional fine was determined.”

Marketing ban

The prohibition on marketing applies to any materials on Betsson’s BML website that either directly or indirectly promote the sales of gambling services in mainland Finland.

It also covers any communications targeting Finnish consumers, featuring Finnish celebrities in a campaign that is attractive to consumers, podcasts that target mainland Finland and articles published with the aim of promoting gambling services in the country. 

In addition, the prohibition applies to marketing BML services on websites other than those owned and administered by the group, whereby the group offers financial benefits to the marketer. 

To comply with the prohibition, BML must refrain from publishing new sales promotion material targeting mainland Finland on its gambling websites, remove all previously published sales promotion material and refrain from marketing on other websites.

As part of the ruling, BML will also be added to the list of payment blocks administered by the National Police Board when the prohibition enters into force on 3 June.

“If BML continues to target its marketing of gambling services at mainland Finland despite the prohibition, the board will take action to enforce the imposed conditional fine,” the board added.

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