Betsson’s BML Group receives temporary reprieve from imposed fine in Finland

Content Team 4 months ago
Betsson’s BML Group receives temporary reprieve from imposed fine in Finland

Betsson subsidiary BML Group Ltd has received a temporary reprieve from the substantial €2.4 million fine imposed on it in Finland, as a court has ruled in favour of suspending the fine pending appeals.

Following the conditional fine issued by the National Police Board (NPB), BML Group appealed the decision and achieved a victory on June 2 when the Helsinki Administrative Court ruled that the enforcement order and fine should be put on hold until the appeals process is completed.

Abstaining from future marketing

The fine was initially imposed on 7 April  for the company’s marketing of gambling services in Finland. The NPB outlined the measures BML Group had to undertake to comply with the prohibition, which included refraining from publishing new sales promotions targeting mainland Finland on its gambling websites, removing previously published sales promotion material, and abstaining from future marketing on other websites.

The court’s interim decision does not indicate the court’s final reasoning or the outcome of the ruling. We view it as a reasonable measure to safeguard the appellant’s rights during the ongoing court process. The interim decision simply states that the National Police Board’s prohibition decision does not take effect while BML Group Ltd’s appeal is being processed or until the court issues a further decision.” Mikko Cantell , Chief Inspector – National Police Board

The Finnish regulator has recently taken more aggressive actions, empowered by new authorities granted to it from 1 January this year, including increased power to block payments. This stricter approach contrasts with potential legal reforms in Finland that aim to dismantle Veikkaus’ monopoly on online gambling in favour of a licensing system.

Introduction of new regulations

Minna Ripatti, founding partner at Legal Gaming Attorneys at Law, commented on the implications of the court’s decision, particularly in relation to the police board’s efforts to block payment service providers (PSPs). She emphasized the broader ramifications, stating, “Considering cases like the one involving Betsson is important. Finland is currently contemplating the introduction of a licensing system for the first time, and the potential inclusion of a cooling-off period is still under discussion within the overall licensing framework. If implemented, this provision may affect companies that have been prohibited or are facing pending court cases, especially considering the proximity to the introduction of new regulations.”

Betsson did not provide a comment at the time of publication.


Betsson trading on NASDAQ

While there is widespread political support for dismantling the monopoly, including from the winner of the recent general election and Veikkaus itself, some government departments are advocating for its retention.

On 5 June, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health released a report favoring the continuation of the monopoly but with improvements. The minister cited the example of Norway’s monopoly and a study conducted by the University of Bergen, which found a 50 percent decrease in gambling problems in Norway since 2019.

The administrative court’s decision in this case could take anywhere from six to 18 months. If the case reaches the Supreme Administrative Court, as predicted by Ripatti, the process could take even longer.

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