Finland May Ban Online Gambling Advertizing

Published Monday, May 11, 2009 - Online-Casinos.com

Online poker and live poker tournaments, are past times Finlanders enjoy. Finland's national gambling market is thought to be worth 2.2bn Euros annually. An estimated 41 % of Finns are said to gamble weekly. These are big enough numbers even though illegal online gambling is not included in these estimates.

The Finnish parliament has decided it may ban all advertizing related to gambling within the country, reports eGaming Review. This is due primarily to the widespread support in Finland for the country's prohibitive gaming regulations. Regulators have begun to debate the proposed prohibition on "indirect advertising and other sales promotion activities", including all sponsorship in exchange for the display of a brand's logo.

According to a survey done in June 2008, by Finland's state monopoly for betting and lottery, almost 82% of Finlanders support the present system. The Finnish government maintains it's monopolistic gambling policies do not violate European Union rules on free trade within the member countries. Legal challenges from such companies as Ladbrokes and Paf, the gambling company of Finland's semi-autonomous Aland Islands, still have not swayed the Finns to give up their market to outsiders. A European Commission complaint was filed back in 2006 and the legal proceedings are still pending.

The proposed total advertizing ban if enacted will affect both foreign operators and local gaming monopolies. Putting the monopolies in the country on a level playing field which has the intent of appeasing the European Commission's complaint. The Finnish lottery, slot machines, casinos, and totalisator betting on harness horse racing are all on the advertizing ban list.

The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court noted when it rejected Ladbrokes application for a licence to operate in Finland back in 2007, that E.U. laws forbids adverts to increase the overall demand for gambling. The Court stated that Veikkaus Oy's or the Finnish Lottery's "problematic" behavior could be corrected if marketing regulations were amended.

Pekka Takki, a gaming lawyer from the law firm of Bird & Bird, commented, "In my opinion the present Finnish model can't hold. But political opinion and public opinion here are always in support of the monopoly." The marketing ban is expected to pass as early as this autumn.

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