Finland Police Announce Blacklist of Betsson Gaming Brands

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Finland's National Police Board (NPB) has issued its first blocking order against a gambling operator in the jurisdiction.

The NPB has blacklisted 13 online casino brands owned by Betsson and its subsidiary BML Group, for violating its betting rules. As a result, banks and payment providers are mandated to block transfers to banned websites.

The NPB made the decision after a court ruling last month determined that BML Group had breached the Finnish Lotteries Act by engaging in targeted marketing and advertising towards Finnish customers. The court had subsequently fined the operator €2.4 million.

Finland to Open Gambling Market by 2026

Currently, only Veikkaus, the state-controlled operator is permitted to provide gambling services in Finland. However, the country has announced plans to establish a competitive, regulated gambling market in the country by 2026. Veikkaus has started preparing for the transition by announcing staff layoffs and signing a partnership with OpenBet to enhance its fixed-odds betting offerings.

Last week, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) released its latest report that showed an increase in problem gambling in Finland, despite a decrease in overall gambling participation.

According to the report, 4.2 percent of survey participants admitted to suffering from problem gambling or were “at-risk”. This amounts to 150,000 individuals in the country.

The figure marks an increase from the 3 percent reported in earlier surveys. The report also highlighted that men are prone to problem gambling, with 6.6% of men reporting gambling at a level considered seriously problematic, compared to 1.8% of women.

Betsson Financial Performance and Expansion Drive

Meanwhile, Betsson has recently released its Q4 2023 financial results, showing group revenue of €251.9m ($270.3m), up 14% year-on-year. The company also revealed an organic growth of 36%. Casino revenue grew by an impressive 25%; however, sportsbook revenue dropped 5%, largely due to the lack of major sporting events in December 2023.

Betsson has also acquired Netherlands-licensed gaming operator Holland Gaming Technology Ltd and its in-house studio Holland Power Gaming BV. The deal worth €27.5m will see Betsson achieve growth in the Dutch gambling market.

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