Finland’s National Police Board is investigating a Malta-licensed operator charged with undertaking ‘large-scale marketing campaigns’ to illegally target national consumers and breaching gambling laws.
The unnamed operator is charged with “aggressively marketing gambling games to mainland Finland residents using multichannel strategies”.
The illegal campaign is alleged to have sent text message promotions to minors, with marketing appearing on Finnish-language affiliate websites and promoted by a ‘social media influencer’, albeit one whose ‘recognition is limited to Finland’ according to the police.
The Police Board has been made aware of the situation through its observations and reports from ‘concerned consumers. Alongside text messages, the marketing campaign has appeared on several Finnish-language websites targeting mainland Finland, including affiliate websites. Some of these sites refer to social media influencers whose fame is limited to Finland.
Inspector Johanna Syväterä of the Police Board’s Lottery Administration stated that these text messages are unrelated to existing customer relationships. Instead, they aim to aggressively expand the customer base of gambling websites.
The target group appears to have been selected arbitrarily, and recipients of these messages have not actively chosen to receive them.
Syväterä also expressed concerns about the targeting of minors in gambling marketing, whether intentional or due to negligence. The marketed online casinos primarily offer fast-paced slot machine games, which can cause significant harm and gambling addiction.
In response to this issue, the Police Board launched the “No Limits” campaign earlier this year to raise awareness of illegal marketing and encourage citizens to report such activities to the authorities. The campaign highlighted the serious financial, social, and health problems related to gambling, as shared by experience expert Kai Mattila.
The “No Limits” campaign has led to a substantial increase in marketing-related reports, which has helped direct control to where marketing is most active. The Police Board has sent a request for clarification to the company responsible for the text message marketing, and after hearing the company’s response, it may prohibit the illegal implementation and marketing of gambling games and impose a fine as a sanction.
With the increased awareness and actions taken by the Police Board, authorities are now better equipped to address the aggressive marketing of gambling games in Finland and protect citizens from the potential harms associated with such activities.