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Compliance Updates

Finnish National Police Board Issues Conditional Fine Against Betsson Over Illegal Marketing

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Finnish National Police Board Issues Conditional Fine Against Betsson Over Illegal Marketing
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Finland’s National Police Board has prohibited BML Group Ltd. from marketing its gambling services in Finland in violation of the Finnish Lotteries Act and imposed a EUR 2.4 million conditional fine to reinforce the prohibition. BML Group Ltd. is a subsidiary of Betsson AB.

The company has targeted Mainland Finland in its advertising on multiple channels and for an extensive period. The company and its subsidiaries have been presented with several opportunities to submit a statement on their views and to change their activities to comply with the views of the National Police Board. During the hearing process, the company did introduce some changes related to the marketing channels it uses for example, but the marketing targeting Mainland Finland has persisted regardless.

The National Police Board estimated that BML Group Ltd. has significant financial interest in continuing the activities and found that the illegal activities have continued for a long time regardless of the National Police Board’s previous control measures. The National Police Board has reviewed the measures undertaken by the company to reduce marketing, and they were considered a mitigating factor when the amount of the conditional fine was determined.

The prohibition imposed by the National Police Board on BML Group Ltd. applies to materials on the Group’s websites that directly or indirectly promote the sales of gambling services in Mainland Finland. The prohibition covers all marketing communications targeting consumers in Mainland Finland, having Finnish celebrities as the face of a gambling service marketing campaign in a manner that is attractive to consumers, podcasts and video podcasts targeting Mainland Finland, and articles published with the aim of directly or indirectly promoting the sales of gambling services in Mainland Finland.

The prohibition also applies to marketing of BML Group Ltd.’s services on websites other than those owned and administered by the Group in a manner that involves the Group or its representative giving financial benefits to the marketer.

To comply with the prohibition, BML Group Ltd. must refrain from publishing new sales promotion material targeting Mainland Finland on its gambling websites, remove all previously published sales promotion material from them, and refrain from marketing on other websites in the future as well.

BML Group Ltd. will be added to the list of payment blocks administered by the National Police Board when the prohibition enters into force.

If BML Group Ltd. continues to target its marketing of gambling services at Mainland Finland despite the prohibition, the National Police Board will take action to enforce the imposed conditional fine.

Compliance Updates

IOC and UEFA host joint betting integrity workshop

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© IOC/Greg Martin
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Sports betting entities and international federations joined UEFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 11 April for a full-day workshop focused on how sport and the sports betting industry can work together to fight match-fixing. Co-organised by the IOC and UEFA, and held at Olympic House in Lausanne, the workshop explored opportunities for cross-sector collaboration with a focus on integrity exchange in support of the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the UEFA Euro 2024.

The workshop kicked off with presentations by the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC) and UEFA’s Anti-Match-Fixing Unit, exploring each team’s strategy for combatting match-fixing, engaging with the sports betting industry, and detecting and investigating potentially fraudulent betting activity.

UEFA promotes integrity through dedicated education, prevention, and awareness raising programmes and by detecting, investigating, and sanctioning match-fixing. Collaboration with stakeholders within football, particularly the network of integrity officers who work for UEFA’s 55 member associations, as well as the wider sports community is vital to this work.

UEFA upholds the integrity of all UEFA competitions via tailored, competition-specific integrity measures. Building on the integrity success of previous UEFA competitions, UEFA’s approach for EURO 2024 will feature close collaboration with host and participating nation stakeholders, public authorities, and sports betting entities as well as real-time betting market monitoring. Our secure UEFA integrity website will allow players, referees, officials, and members of the public to report suspected cases of match-fixing confidentially and anonymously. During the workshop, UEFA shared its competition risk assessment and mitigation strategy and explained the escalation, triage, and assessment approach for any potential integrity concerns.

“Sport alone cannot eradicate match-fixing. We must work together – raising awareness, sharing information, ensuring robust prevention and detection systems are in place – to protect sport and athletes. During the UEFA EURO 2024, our Germany-based staff (supported by the entire Anti-Match-Fixing Unit based in Nyon) will work hand-in-hand with betting integrity entities, betting operators and regulators, public authorities, and the national associations.” Vincent Ven, Head of Anti-Match-Fixing at UEFA

“The main objective is to ensure robust 24/7 monitoring of the competition in compliment to our dedicated prevention and education programme for all participating athletes and officials. UEFA’s multi-stakeholder Anti-Match-Fixing Assessment Group will manage pre and in-competition monitoring, ensuring that UEFA can immediately review and address any potential integrity threats to the tournament.”, Ven added.

“Collaboration is essential. During the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, we will work together with a series of betting operators, associations and major betting regulatory authorities to exchange relevant information about irregular betting patterns or suspicious betting activities detected that might imply competition manipulation.” Friedrich Martens, Head of the OM Unit PMC

Panel discussions with several sport governing bodies and betting integrity entities provided insight into best practices, trends, and success stories from each sector’s perspective, whilst two betting operators took the floor to share examples of recent fruitful cooperation with UEFA and the IOC on prevention and investigations.

The afternoon featured frank discussion regarding how to enhance cooperation between sport and sports betting entities, recent trends in sports betting and their potential impact on sport integrity, and how to improve information sharing in support of match-fixing detection and investigation.

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VGCCC Introduces New Rules for Wagering Account Statements

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has introduced new standards for how activity statements should be presented to wagering account holders. The new standards require providers to use plain English and avoid unnecessary vocabulary. The use of colours is limited to black and red to represent losses.

The VGCCC took the measure after finding inconsistencies in the way information was displayed on sample activity statements across different providers. Account holders must be able to see how much of their own money they have lost, with free and bonus bets excluded from the net loss figures. Net wins must be shown with stakes deducted. The gambling harm taglines that appear at the end of wagering ads must be displayed on each statement.

The new standards came into force on April 1. Failure to comply could result in a penalty of 60 penalty units, equivalent to AU$11,538.60 for each non-compliant activity statement issued.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said: “The days of inconsistent player activity statements are over. Wagering account holders will be better informed about their spending – and therefore better equipped to make informed decisions about their gambling – thanks to the clarity and fairness these changes bring.”

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Compliance Updates

UK Gambling Commission Unveils a New Three-year Corporate Strategy

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched its new Corporate Strategy for 2024 to 2027.

Titled “Gambling Regulation in a Digital Age,” the strategy underlines the Commission’s commitment to deliver on the decisions set out in the Government’s White Paper High Stakes – Gambling reform for the digital age.

In addition to continuing to deliver the core regulatory work, over the next three years, the Commission will make a series of commitments under the following areas of strategic focus:

  • using data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective
  • enhancing the core operational functions
  • setting clear evidence-based requirements for licensees
  • being proactive and addressing issues at the earliest opportunity
  • regulating a successful National Lottery.

The strategy prioritises key cross-cutting enablers, including a review of the people plan, approach to stakeholder engagement and ensuring the Commission has the right resources to regulate effectively.

Commission Chair Marcus Boyle said: “Our new three-year strategy ‘Gambling regulation in a digital age’ sets out how we will deliver the reforms set out in the Government’s gambling white paper, and successfully regulate the National Lottery under a new licensee.

“We are also setting out an ambitious programme to enhance the effectiveness of our regulation. A new data innovation hub will foster the smarter use of data. We will increase the transparency of our work to raise standards in the gambling industry, and we will be creative in disrupting those who seek to operate illegally.

“I want a fair, safe, and crime-free gambling market where consumers and the interests of the wider public are protected. This strategy will improve gambling regulation and move us closer to that vision.”

Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said: “I am proud of how far the Commission has come in the last few years. We’ve tackled some of the critical issues facing operators and consumers, but the next cycle will involve delivering on some of the key decisions that we and Government have taken.

“Our objective is to be the authoritative voice on evidence and data, to tackle misinformation, delve into the facts, and help bring about improved outcomes for the public. Our Gambling Survey for Great Britain is one example of how we aim to embrace new data and intelligence.

“It is vital we maintain high standards for gambling consumers, working with industry to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity. We will continue to work across borders to tackle common issues like illegal gambling, and to learn and share regulatory best practice.”

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