Finland’s National Police Board sparks iGaming controversy with social media ads
Finland’s National Police Board (NPB) has released a series of social media ads that have caused quite the stir in the iGaming industry.
The videos, which are being shared on TikTok and Instagram and can also be found on the police’s YouTube channel Poliisitube, are part of the “Ei mitään rajaa” (No Limit) campaign that aims to raise awareness of illegal gambling marketing among young adults.
However, the controversial content of the videos has raised concerns about the campaign’s effectiveness and appropriateness.
To date, two videos have been published. In the first video, a streamer encourages Finns to take loans to fund gambling, and in the second video, to sell their organs for the same purpose.
Here’s an unofficial English translation of the first video: “Hello and welcome to my channel! My name is Mintti and today I have something very exciting to share with you. If you’re like me and you haven’t yet taken out a full student loan, I have an excellent way for you to use that money.
“Did you know that you can grow your money by playing on the sponsor’s site featured in this video, without any interference from Finland’s consumer protection laws or loss limits? [text “play on debt!” appears on the screen]. You can use your student loan to register on the site at www… But hey, I cannot say this?”
Translation of the second video: “Hi! I’m Mintti. Welcome to my channel. I have a money-making idea for you! If you want to gamble on the sponsor’s site featured in this video, but you don’t have any money and you’ve already lost your creditworthiness [text “don’t worry” appears on the screen], you can quickly make some money by selling one of your kidneys [pictures of € symbols and kidneys appear on the screen].
“As human beings, we have two kidneys, but we only need one… are you serious that this is the script? [text “recognise illegal gambling marketing” appears, along with a hashtag and the NPB’s logo].”
“The campaign itself has no doubt a supportable aim – to raise awareness among young adults about illegal gambling advertising. However, the videos, which are really the core of the campaign, are rather absurd,” Antti Koivula, partner and legal adviser at Finnish gaming law firm Legal Gaming told iGaming NEXT.
He has been closely following the Finnish gambling market for two decades and said he has “never seen the enforcement authority engaging in a marketing campaign like this”.
“It must be underlined that the campaign was funded, planned, and implemented ultimately by the Finnish police, and one could expect their campaigns to fulfil certain standards,” he said.
Koivula concluded by saying: “I cannot help but question whether this is an appropriate use of the NPB’s increased funding.”
Koivula, who also shared his thoughts on LinkedIn, received significant support from the iGaming industry. Many industry professionals expressed similar concerns on social media.
Finland is the only EU member state which to date still operates an exclusive online gambling monopoly model, although the government is preparing a move to an international licensing system.
However, thus far, the Finnish authorities are intent on cracking down on operators which – in spite of the ban – market their products to Finnish players through measures such as payment blocking.