During the past two decades, Malta has established itself as the online gaming capital of the world. This can be verified by listening to the mix of European and, increasingly, global languages in many areas of Malta.
However, nothing evidences the versatility of the Maltese betting and casino industry than a quick inspection of the gaming sites licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. One major online casino is available in nearly 20 languages, or even more if you count UK English separately from the Irish or Canadian variety. In recent years some casinos have even started offering their services in Maltese.
One of the more exotic languages that regularly appears on MGA licensed websites is Finnish. It is a member of the Finnic group of the Uralic language family, thus being one of the few languages in the European Union, along with Maltese, that does not belong to the Indo-European family.
Finnish is notoriously difficult to learn and is spoken by a relatively small number of people, so few non-natives master it. There are about five million native speakers, with the largest populations outside Finland in Sweden and Norway, plus growing expat communities spread throughout the world.
Basic gambling vocabulary is of course largely universal and often borrowed from English. A bonus in Finnish is simply bonus, poker is pokeri and so on, but few everyday words share similar roots. For example a simple gaming-related phrase 'Welcome offer for first deposit' in Finnish is 'Tervetuliaistarjous ensimmäiselle talletukselle', having little in common with any other tongue.
Increasing this language’s complexity are the various inflections, of which it has several dozen in common use. While a casino in Finnish is, easily enough, 'kasino', the word changes according to number and case, resulting in forms like 'kasinolle', 'kasinoilta', 'kasinoiden', 'kasinoissa' and so on.
Thus texts produced by automated tools such as Google Translate are often borderline incomprehensible. Besides, the so-called ‘book language’ is very different from spoken Finnish, making literal translations sound unnatural.
This creates a demand for native, or at least advanced Finnish speakers in many aspects of the iGaming industry. They are a necessity for translation, customer care, and marketing, and some popular gaming sites are even designed with a theme specifically appealing to them. Working as a customer service agent for a Maltese online casino or a betting site is a popular job for many Finnish youths looking for a warmer climate. Advertising in turn is most often done through affiliate marketing, and several popular gaming affiliate websites exclusively cater to Finnish speaking players.
A good example is Suomenkielisetnettikasinot.com, literally ‘Finnish language online casinos.com’ – a mouthful for sure. As can be seen from that website, Finnish speaking players place a high value on reliability, fast payment systems and a generally hassle-free experience. Although most start learning English in primary school or even before, they still feel more comfortable with online services offered in their native language.
Maltese gaming industry's long-term commitment to Finnish language content, overall customer experience, and marketing has certainly reaped rewards. MGA is seen as the most trusted licence among this segment, with many only ever depositing at websites bearing this mark.
As online gaming keeps expanding globally, it reaches more and more players from these smaller language areas. Almost always they would prefer to transact in the language most familiar to them. The success of the Maltese gaming industry in gaining the trust of the Finnish-speaking customers serves as a good case study going forward.
Disclaimer: Play responsibly. Players must be over 18. For help visit https://www.gamcare.org.uk.