CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
author's picture
 

Ladbrokes Set to Battle with Finnish Government

8 September 2003

British bookmaker Ladbrokes has found itself amid yet another legal battle over cross-border gambling. The company recently filed a legal complaint with the Finnish Attorney General, arguing that the Finnish government has spread information to unlawfully block Ladbrokes' attempts to advertise within the country.


"We alone turn over three times as much as the entire Finnish market, so we're not just going to lay down and be afraid of this kind of behavior."
- Douglas Roos
Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes claims there is nothing in Finland's 2002 Act on Gaming that prohibits the marketing of online gaming.

Regardless, according to Ladbrokes spokesman Douglas Roos, "They, with quite a threatening tone and with false information, have informed the entire media industry, including newspapers and other media channels, that everything Ladbrokes does in Finland is illegal, which is wrong. And they have not taken into consideration the latest jurisprudence from the Finnish courts."

The latest jurisprudence doesn't explicitly ban marketing gaming services, but it does prohibit international betting companies from keeping offices and operating within Finland. The government argues, however, that marketing is actually part of the betting process so is therefore illegal.

Finnish law does permit the state owned and licensed betting company, Veikkaus Oy, to take bets and market within the country.

So as Roos explained, "They have sent letters and e-mails to advertisers, to radio channels, TV channels, newspapers... and they have on six different occasions actually made public appearances where they have had speeches--even in debate articles in newspapers. They have threatened and said that 'the worst thing that can happen to Finnish society would be the entrance of Ladbrokes, which by the way is illegal.'"

Roos added, "We're not tolerating that. We alone turn over three times as much as the entire Finnish market, so we're not just going to lay down and be afraid of this kind of behavior."

This is not the first time the Finish government has battled in the courts over Internet gambling. In March a Turku Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling against PAF--a chartable gaming operator based on Aland Island (a Finnish territory)--that would have prevented the marketing of services for betting that takes place in another jurisdiction. Though the case has yet to be sent to a higher court, the decision is in general agreement with court judgments from other E.U. member-states, such as Greece and Italy, where the courts have ruled that there are no legal grounds to prevent betting over the Internet.

Roos said Ladbrokes still has big plans for Finland."We have already created Finnish pages," he said. "We have a Finnish staff working toward Finnish speaking people; we have Finnish betting objects, Finnish customer support and Finnish content."

The next step in the dispute is for the Attorney General to investigate Ladbrokes' complaints and determine whether they are valid. If so, he will interrogate the government.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes is devising a plan to legally market into Finland via other countries, such as the United Kingdom.

On a final note, Roos added, "Finland is a very strict and rigid monopoly. The state monopoly itself is making tons of money on running this monopoly. They claim that the monopoly is justified due to social policy and problem gambling, which is only a big bluff. They don’t do anything in relation to problem gambling or compulsive gambling whilst they are making lots of money every year by running this monopoly. Their (state) betting companies advertise extremely aggressively in newspapers and television everyday. And the only thing they are tying to do is make much more money on betting.

"We are going to challenge this monopoly and take it to court in the European Union."

Ladbrokes Set to Battle with Finnish Government is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com