It seems that digital gambling operators are getting more and more creative in circumventing offshore markets’ gambling laws.
An online casino platform based in Malta has found a way to evade Finland’s advertising legislation, under which gambling advertising on local radio channels is not legally allowed. Reportedly, the Helsinki police are currently investigating the violation.
Since the end of June, one of the radio channels in Helsinki has been playing mainly electronic music. However, during advertising breaks, the radio station called Doubleclap has been eagerly offering its listeners various discounts at GGpoker – an online casino platform registered in Malta. Doubleclap received a radio license that officially commenced on June 26th and is set to expire at the end of August 2023.
The radio license holder for the aforementioned channel – We Are The Champions Entertainment – is Estonian. The advertised online casino website, however, is currently operated by NSUS Malta. The Doubleclap radio station states on its website that it is powered by GGpoker.
For the time being, the only gambling companies allowed to target local customers by offering their services in the Finnish market are the central Government-owned and operated betting operator Veikkaus and the Åland-based gambling operator Paf, which is owned by the regional Government. As mentioned above, however, gambling advertising is currently illegal on broadcasts in Finland, and the entire content on the Doublecap channel is in Finnish, not in Estonian.
Radio Channels Are Off Limits for Foreign Gambling Operators to Advertise On
As revealed by the chief inspector of the Finnish lottery, Jovanna Johanna Syväterä, the Helsinki Police Department and the country’s issuer of radio licenses, Traficom, have both received notices about the radio station and the gambling promotions aired there. She further explained that in such cases, a police board will normally look into the controversial issue and provide the advertiser with the chance to explain themselves and cease the unlawful activity. Should they fail to do so, further measures, such as monetary penalties and bans, are set to apply.
The radio station also runs an online radio website and a mobile radio application.
According to reports, Doubleclap radio station provided an explanation for the gambling ads, saying that it currently has a sponsorship agreement with GGpoker, a Malta-based online casino, which has paid for visibility on its online radio channel and the mobile app only. Doublecap claimed that the online casino made its way to the FM radio channel “by accident” because its programming for the radio channel and the online radio is basically the same.
The radio channel owner also insisted that the Malta-based online casino has not paid for the radio transmission of the controversial adverts that allegedly breached Finland’s gambling advertising laws.
This is not the first time when a foreign digital casino service has illegally managed to target Finnish customers through local radio channels. Back in 2021, local authorities found RJ Entertainment to have unlawfully promoted gambling on the Kiekkoradio station and its website. It faced a monetary penalty of €20,000 for the violation.