Malta-based online casino finds innovative way to skirt Finnish law

A Malta-based online casino has found an innovative way to skirt Finnish advertising laws which prohibit the advertising of gambling on the radio and which the Helsinki police are now reportedly investigating.

Since the end of June, a radio station has been hitting Helsinki airwaves playing mainly electronic music. But during breaks, it advertises and offers listeners discounts at the Malta-registered GGpoker online casino.

The radio station, called Doubleclap, got a radio licence that commenced on 26 June and ends at the end of August.

While Doubleclap’s radio licence holder, We Are The Champions Entertainment, is Estonian, GGpoker is run by NSUS Malta. The station says on its website that it is “powered by GGpoker”.

The problem is that the only companies allowed to market gambling in Finland are the Finnish government-owned betting agency, Veikkaus, and Paf, a gambling operator based in Åland and owned by the regional government.

But according to the Finnish authorities, the advertising is illegal because it is broadcast in Finland, and the entire channel is in the Finnish language, not Estonian.

According to Johanna Syväterä, the Finnish lottery’s chief inspector, notices have been received about the station from the Helsinki Police Department and from Traficom, the issuer of radio licences.

In such cases, a police board will look into the matter and allow the advertiser to explain themselves and cease the illegal activity, short of which bans and fines will apply.

The radio station also has an online radio site and an app.

Doubleclap explained that it has a sponsorship deal with the Malta-based GGpoker, which has paid for visibility on the online radio and in the app, and that the online casino ads were making their way to the FM radio waves “by accident” because its programming is the same as that of the online radio.

The company insists it has not received any payment for the adverts’ radio transmission.

This isn’t the first time foreign online casinos have been illegally marketed on Finnish radio. In 2021, RK Entertainment was found to have illegally advertised gambling on the Finnish Kiekkoradio station and its website. It was fined €20,000 for the infringement.

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