Betsson blacklisting in Finland’s evolving iGaming sector

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
Betsson blacklisting in Finland’s evolving iGaming sector

In a landmark move, Betsson, an MGA-licensed online gambling operator, has been officially blacklisted by Finland’s National Police Board (NPB). This development marks the first time an iGaming business has been added to the NPB’s publicly available blacklist.

Blacklisting implications

Betsson’s parent company, BML Group, and its 14 owned brands, including Betsson, Star Casino, and Betsafe, are now specifically listed on the blacklist. This listing mandates all banks, payment service providers, and cryptocurrency businesses to block payments from Finland to these blacklisted businesses. Non-compliance could result in government penalties and sanctions.

This blacklisting follows Betsson’s loss in a Finnish court against the NPB. Betsson had appealed against the NPB’s decision to impose a record €2.4 million fine for targeting the Finnish market. The company was accused of creating Finnish market content, including banner advertisements on affiliate websites, and blog writings, podcasts, and video podcasts. According to the police, Betsson’s extensive advertising in Finland violated the country’s Lottery Act, where state-owned Veikkaus holds a monopoly on gaming activities.

Finland’s shift towards a licensing model

The NPB’s blacklist, announced in December 2022, is part of an enforcement effort to protect the market. Finland’s monopoly model has generally failed in its channelisation goals, with approximately 50 percent of traffic heading to offshore operators. In 2023, the government released a study recommending either the introduction of an international licensing model or increased enforcement efforts to improve channelisation.

Following the April elections, the new Social Democratic Party-led coalition government committed to introducing a licensing model by 2026. Betsson’s presence on the NPB’s blacklist could complicate its efforts to receive a license under the new regulations.

A regulatory expert said that it would be intriguing to observe whether BML will seek permission to appeal from the Supreme Administrative Court. If such permission is granted, it raises questions about how this could potentially affect BML’s prospects of obtaining a license from Finland when the market opens in a few years.

Betsson intends to appeal the case to the Supreme Administrative Court.

A Betsson spokesperson has emphasised that BML Group is fully cooperating with the NPB and is fully compliant with the prohibition order issued by the NPB. As far as their understanding goes, there should be no fine payable by BML Group in Finland due to their compliance.


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