Finnish police ramp up payments blocking drive and identify five further operators for blacklist

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Finnish authorities will in January publish a blacklist of operators that target Finnish players and instruct payment service providers (PSPs) to block deposits to these companies.

While currently only two Curaçao-based entities, Nordic Tech Services and Viking Technology, are on the blacklist, the gambling administration within the National Police Board said it has initiated administrative procedures to issue blocking orders against five further foreign operators.

The rationale behind the payment blocks is to reduce the availability and accessibility of gambling offerings, the gambling administration said.

Finland is the only EU member state which to date still operates an exclusive online gambling monopoly model, with Veikkaus the only permitted gambling company in the country.

The gambling administration estimates that between 5% and 6% of the Finnish population uses online gambling websites, which costs the country somewhere between €250m and €300m annually.

Juhani Ala-Kurikka, senior adviser at the gambling administration, said payment blocks should “reduce the willingness” of unregulated gambling operators “to target marketing at players” in Finland.

The gambling administration said the blocks would probably affect occasional and moderate players more significantly, and ultimately, increase awareness of consumer protection risks among this group of players.

Meanwhile, the impact on frequent, high-risk and problem players would be lower, the National Police Board estimated.

The payment blocks will restrict deposit payments from players to blacklisted gambling operators, but withdrawals will not be affected.

The gambling administration stressed that PSPs are obligated to block payments when instructed to do so by the National Police Board.

Should payment service providers fail to comply with a blocking order, the gambling administration can impose a fine.

Earlier this year, Olli Sarekoski, CEO of state-owned gambling company Veikkaus, ignited a fresh discussion on Finnish gambling regulation, including the potential introduction of an international licensing model.

About the author

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Sonja Lindenberg

Sonja Lindenberg is an experienced editor and journalist, with a strong focus on business, finance, trade and investment. She holds a degree in business journalism and throughout the past two decades has covered companies and industries in various markets and for different media, including newspapers, news agencies, inflight magazines, country reports and trade publications. Sonja joined iGaming NEXT in June 2022.

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