BML Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Betsson, has received a prohibition order and a conditional fine of €2.5m ($2.7m) million for engaging in unlicensed marketing activities within the Finnish market. This occurred despite the fact that Betsson lacks the necessary license to operate in the Nordic country.
The investigation revealed that Betsson, operating through BML, had actively focused on attracting Mainland Finland through various advertising channels for an extended period, promoting its online gambling offerings. Despite being given multiple opportunities to adjust its marketing practices to comply with local gambling advertising regulations, the company made only minor changes, continuing to target Finnish consumers.
The National Police Board took these changes into consideration when determining the magnitude of the financial penalty. Additionally, the board issued an order for the company to cease all direct and indirect marketing efforts aimed at enticing Finnish consumers to gamble on its websites. This encompasses a prohibition on using Finnish celebrities in advertisements or incorporating website content, podcasts, or video podcasts that specifically target Finland for the promotion of Betsson’s gambling products and services.
This prohibition also extends to external websites, including affiliate marketing platforms, that are not owned by BML Group.
The National Police Board has instructed BML to remove any remaining online content or marketing materials that promote its products. Once the prohibition takes effect on June 3, 2023, the company will be included in the list of payment blocks. If, by that time, BML fails to implement the required changes specified by the board, it will be required to pay the full fine.
This marks the first instance in the National Police Board’s history where a prohibition order has been issued alongside a conditional fine. It is also the largest fine of its kind ever imposed by the board.
According to a statement from the Finnish Police, Betsson altered its marketing channels following a hearing on the matter, but continued to target mainland Finland.
The Police declared, “The National Police Board determined that BML Group has a significant financial interest in continuing these activities and found that the illegal actions have persisted over a prolonged period, despite previous control measures by the National Police Board.”
In addition to the financial penalty, Betsson has been directed to “refrain from publishing any new sales promotional material that targets Mainland Finland on its gambling websites, remove all previously published promotional material from these websites, and abstain from future marketing on other websites as well.”
The punitive measures will come into effect on June 3, although Betsson retains the right to file an appeal.
This development follows shortly after Betsson reported a gross profit of €147.5 million for Q1 2023, reflecting a 38% increase compared to Q1 2022.
Pontus Lindwall, President and CEO of Betsson AB, commented on the report, stating, “For 60 years, we have been providing entertainment through casino games, sports betting, and various other forms of gaming. Maintaining a long-term perspective is crucial to Betsson’s approach to business operations and creating value for shareholders.”