Betsson’s BML Group dealt Finnish blow by NPB

After marking another successful streak in its latest interim report, Betsson Group has been dealt a blow in Finland where its subsidiary BML Group appeared on the country’s blacklist of unlicensed operators.  

In a new development, Finland’s National Police Board (NPB) placed the company next to a number of corporate entities banned from interacting with any banks, payment services and virtual currency providers in Finland. 

This comes almost a year after BML Group – a licence holder from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) – was hit with a €2.4m fine by the NPB over breaching marketing regulations that give monopoly over gaming activities to the Finnish state-owned betting, gaming and lottery operator Veikkaus.

The fine was appealed by Betsson in court, which was reportedly lost on 19 February, 2024. 

A government inquiry from 2023 into the share that unlicensed operators have in the Finnish market showed that illegal betting fell into the margin between €500m and €550m, affecting Veikkaus’ profit-making ability and putting the state ownership monopoly under question. 

This resulted in a new politically-backed licensing model proposition where Veikkaus would retain its control over physical casinos and slot machines, brick-and-mortar betting and lotteries, as well as raffle games, with private operators being able to take up online sports betting and igaming licences.

Veikkaus also backed the proposition, citing an evident need for change that will reinforce the Finnish treasury and player protection in the country.

Olli Sarekoski, Veikkaus CEO, accepted the report and commented at the time: “The report is good and balanced. It is important that the amount of gaming margin outside the exclusive rights system is confirmed to be in the range of €500m to €550m, and thus also in the category we presented based on H2 Gambling Capital’s information.”

However, the blacklisting by the NPB could mean the final nail in the coffin for Betsson’s ambitions to participate in the opening up of the Finnish market as a licence holder. 

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