Gambling marketing in Finland is now under the close monitoring of the National Police Board as World Rally Championship event (WRC) and its side events started.
The National Police Board anticipates that certain gambling service providers outside the Finnish system, based on exclusive rights, may seek to utilise the event for marketing purposes. The National Police Board has informed event organisers of the supervision campaign and requested them to inform the teams, drivers and side event organisers accordingly. The police will observe possible marketing of gambling services during the event.
Veikkaus Oy has the exclusive right to provide and market gambling services in mainland Finland. The main objective of this system is to prevent misuse and crime associated with gambling and to prevent and reduce the adverse economic, social and health effects caused by participation in gambling.
Senior Adviser Johanna Syväterä of the National Police Board said that all marketing material that violates the Finnish Lotteries Act, including the logos of gambling service providers outside the Finnish system of exclusive rights, must be removed or hidden from sight so that spectators cannot see them.
“Attempts to market the brands of international gambling service providers and their games may appear during the event, in the form of logos printed on marketing materials. Moreover, marketing may appear along the rally route, on competitors’ clothing and fan merchandise, on video screens and light panels, in the background screens for interviews, and brochures, stickers and other giveaways,” said Senior Adviser Johanna Syväterä.
In addition to direct and indirect advertising, marketing involves other sales promotion activities, which, according to the preparatory materials of the Finnish Lotteries Act, include sponsoring, in connection of which the gambling service provider’s name or other identifier is visible.
“Sponsorship can be estimated to be a particularly interesting marketing method for gambling service providers because it reaches a designated, specific target group whose level of interest in sports betting, for example, may be above average. In addition, positive images associated with the sponsored person or sports can be associated with the brand,” said Syväterä.
The goal of the Finnish gambling system is to prevent and reduce the harm caused by gambling. Regardless of this, a considerable number of people in Finland, and those close to them, suffer from severe financial, social and health-related harm associated with gambling. In a research report published by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority earlier this year, it is stated that problematic gambling is more common outside the system of exclusive rights, which the FCCA estimates to have attracted approximately EUR 520–590 million of gamblers’ money in 2021.
The National Police Board can impose an administrative fine for any intentional violation of the marketing ban of gambling services. The amount of the administrative fine is determined on the basis of net sales or taxable revenue. For a business, the administrative fine is EUR 10,000 at minimum and EUR 5,000,000 at maximum. For a natural person, the administrative fine is EUR 500 at minimum and EUR 40,000 at maximum.
“The primary purpose of enhanced supervision is to prevent unlawful marketing effectively in advance. We hope that informing the event participants in advance will suffice as a preventive measure so that no unlawful marketing occurs at the event. If, for some reason, this is not the case, we are prepared to act quickly on this,” Senior Adviser Johanna Syväterä said.