Norppa Kasino and the Nordics

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As a brand that’s here to make a difference – we were excited to sit down with DoubleUp Group’s Emma L., to talk about the group’s latest moves in the Nordic market, as well as its support for the adorable Baltic saimaannorppa seal, one of the most endangered seals in the world.

Crammed with insights into the latest on Finnish regulation, Nordic player preferences and casino traditions in Scandinavia, this one’s not to be missed!

Welcome to European Gaming and many thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Can you talk us through your recent exciting casino launches that DoubleUp has helped support?

Thank you for the opportunity! We’re really delighted with these two new launches as we love working with fun and engaging brands. We’re all animal lovers at DoubleUp and that’s why we support animal themed casinos with a purpose and something that a lot of people can relate to.

At the beginning of October, Norppa Kasino launched, which draws plenty of inspiration from one of Finland’s most treasured animal friends. The name comes from saimaannorppa, which is the one of the most endangered seals in the world. This is a casino that could pledge donations to support the protection of the seal. As part of that, a fun and lovable mascot was created – Onni the Norppa, who is waiting at the door whenever a new customer walks in. Onni has many characteristics that are often used to describe people generally, he’s also a huge nature lover, just like us!

One major region that plenty of our readers have interest in is the Nordic player market – what’s been your experience in the region and what’s your take on how the Nordic casino scene is performing?

My background is the result of living across three different Nordic countries, and as well as my professional industry experience across support, content and CRM – which have given me plenty of insights into the player market. Overall, we’re seeing strong performance. New casinos spring up like mushrooms, especially across much of the Nordics! Marketing – and adhering to marketing regulations are of course key. Also, looking at Finland in particular, with Veikkaus likely to take more of a back seat, we’ll see a transition towards a much more competitive marketplace. This is especially the case with The National Coalition Party proposing a transition to the licensing system, and we have elections next spring (in current polls they’re the leading party).

If they win, we’re one step closer to seeing a properly developed environment. I believe there’s a lot that can be learned from Sweden – and the Swedish gaming license system has been interesting for the Finns to follow up. No doubt, we can use the Swedish system as a test and take the best bits to develop our own licensing system.

Also looking to wider macroeconomic trends, I believe the current uncertain situation in Europe given the energy crisis will most likely have its effect on gambling in the Nordics as well, especially next winter. So definitely something to watch.

Given your company’s vision for supporting casinos that are really here to make a difference, such as Doggo Casino for our four-legged friends, as well as supporting the endangered seal community in Finland, do you see that resonating strongly with players?

Yes, I believe so. The Nordics are a nature loving people, and animals are close to our hearts as well. We’re very proud of our beautiful nature – and as I’m sure many of your readers we’ll have seen, it’s common for all Nordic countries! Fun fact, Dogs are the most popular pet in Finland (with 700 000 dogs in total), while in Norway the cat is king (I’m sure there could have a Catto Casino in the works!).

One of the key trends we’ve seen during the pandemic has been a huge demand for adopting pets. The most common reason being to make its owners happier. Our brands represent something a lot of people can relate to. Seals are loved by the whole Finnish nation (you can even watch them on live stream in the Spring and it’s super popular!).

Looking to entertainment and providing players with a quality gaming experience, what do you believe is key for casino right now in providing a diverse format of verticals that can excite and entertain?

We’ve always seen the best success if you offer a site that has easy navigation, and a UI that isn’t too crowded (Nordic players prefer a simplistic style), as well as trustworthy looks and content, fast payments and also quick load times for games. Given that players always like something new and exciting, fresh launches will always attract curious users. Of course, competition is much harder with sportsbook, especially if players prefer to return to classic sites.

Looking to the affiliate community across the Nordic region – can you offer us any insights into how new brands eyeing the region can really make a mark with local player media?

It’s incredibly important to pay attention to the localisation of content, as well as with campaigns, support, lobbies and the like. Native speaking support, as well as proper translations on site and communications are of course also essential.

We definitely also shouldn’t treat the Nordics as one, and one should do plenty of AB testing and base decision on data. For example, I would not expect a Viking-themed casino to perform super well in Finland, as we don’t have that heritage. Of course, in Norway that could work far better! It’s also important to look into finding new, creative and cool ideas, while ensuring one doesn’t stay stuck in traditional themes. Without a doubt, I would say Nordic players are modern and open to new creative ideas.

Last but not least, with two fantastic casino brands already under your belt, what’s DoubleUp’s plans for the coming months? Any exciting new projects we can look forward to?

We’re constantly looking into improving brands and helping our partners expand their offerings – so we’re very excited about that. One example is increasing the amount of games. We’re passionate about expansion, looking into adding new providers and working on plenty of new features that will be announced soon enough. The World Cup, and of course Christmas are also coming up, which I’m sure will keep Doggo and Norppa busier than ever!

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.