Welcomes Åland Islanders
Located between Finland and Sweden, the Alands Islands are located at the southern end of the Gulf of Bothnia and the northern end of the Baltic Sea. The main cluster of this archipelago is less than 100 miles north-east of Stockholm, and though its citizens primarily speak Swedish, the islands are a part of Finland.
An Overview of Online Gambling in the Alands Islands
All online gambling in the Alands Islands is operated through the Alands Penningautomatforening company, or PAF for short. PAF's stated purpose is to contribute revenue towards social and humanitarian programs in the Alands Islands. One of the main themes of online gambling for these islands is that PAF is often in jurisdiction-based disputes with other companies like mainland Finland's RAY which is a similar company with a similar purpose.
While PAF has a complete monopoly for online gambling, that authority doesn't extend to certain areas if it will conflict with certain aspects of jurisdictions in other countries. For example, they have seen punitive costs for advertising that targeted mainland Finland. Aside from these legal disputes, they offer just about every type of online gambling anyone could want in the Alands Islands.
Licensing in the Alands Islands
The only license given in the Alands Islands is to PAF. However, that does not limit other companies from getting in on the action and operating their own games because PAF offers a "white label" B2B solution. This means that a level of competitive still exists within the monopoly that drives the operators towards higher levels of customer service and other characteristics that keep the industry healthy.
Player Protection in the Alands Islands
Even though PAF has a monopoly on gaming in the area, they haven't fallen into the same traps that some online gambling monopolies have. They hold the eCOGRA Safe and Fair seal, which is a big step in the right direction, and they take player disputes very seriously. This requires that player disputes and any other issues for the players are handled in specific ways, and because PAF doesn't want to lose that seal, players are always taken care of.
This arrangement is an excellent example of the industry policing itself even when a company has a government license for a fully monopoly for online gambling in an area. Overall, the Alands Islands are an excellent example of how government-driven and industry-driven interests can intersect to provide players with the protections they need to keep the industry clean.
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