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Finnish influencer issued suspended sentence over marketing breaches

A Finnish influencer and streamer has lost a legal case after a District Court ruled that he had violated national gambling marketing and advertising laws.

Lauri Kangas – a casino streamer who distributed content via his own website as well as YouTube, Snapchat and Twitch – was found to have promoted operators other than the Veikkaus Oy monopoly.

The streamer had been distributing content based around his own gambling activities for some time, but later began to promote casino brands for a commission fee across his platforms.

Antti Koivula, Partner and Legal Advisor at Legal Gaming Attorneys at Law, remarked that the evidence against Kangas in the courtroom was ‘overwhelming’. 

The prosecution’s primary argument was that Kangas’ content was directed largely at Finns, breaking laws around marketing of gambling products not provided by Veikkaus. 

Kangas’ defence that some of his audience were located outside of Finland was ‘of little help’, Koivula remarked on Linkedin, due to much of his content appearing on a Finnish-language affiliate website and social media accounts.

Koivula told SBC: “From a legal perspective, there is nothing unusual in the criminal verdict against streamer/influencer Lauri Kangas.

“The evidence was overwhelming, and according to the court, Mr. Kangas essentially admitted to acting in the manner described in the charge. The case serves as a good reminder how illegal gambling advertising exposes to criminal liability.”

The presiding judge over the case decided that Kangas should be handed a short suspended prison sentence, and forfeit around €51,000 in assets made from the marketing activity.

This is the second noteworthy case to emerge from Finland in recent months relating to laws around the country’s gambling monopoly and betting activity occurring outside the legal framework.

In May 2023, Finland’s National Police Board marked a first in its history by issuing a fine against an MGA-licensed operator. BML Group, part of the Betsson Group, was charged €2.4m for marketing to Finnish customers, massively surpassing the previous record fine of €800,000.

Such legal actions could potentially become a thing of the past, however, as Finland looks set to move away from the monopoly system it has held for many years and adopt a partial-licence model.

The primary reason for this is the fact that significant numbers of Finnish consumers are choosing to wager with overseas operators, which are not subject to the government’s taxation, compliance and player protection requirements.

Finnish policymakers from across the political spectrum as well as the Veikkaus monopoly itself have called for such a move. As legal changes are still at the start of the political pipeline, however, it is unclear how a new licensing system would impact marketing rules.

Speaking to SBC back in January 2023, Koivula explained that the full transition to a partia-licence system, assuming a smooth political process without ‘hiccups’, could take place by around 2025.

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