There are hundreds of thousands of online and land-based gamblers in Finland. Over the years, the number of gambling sites in the country has increased significantly. Currently, there are hundreds, if not thousands of gambling platforms that Finns can access.
The gambling market industry is huge. The estimated value of the global gambling market is 400 billion euros. Only a government-owned company called Veikkaus is allowed by the law to offer gambling and related marketing services.
Veikkaus is a monopoly that is owned by the Finnish government. The most crucial law in Finland’s gambling industry is the Act on Lotteries, which is supplemented by the State’s decrees.
The National Police Board regulates gambling activities in the country. If a gambling firm is found to be engaging in unethical practices, the national body can order such firms to stop operating, and they may also be required to pay fines.
Even though Veikkaus is the only organization that is allowed by the Finnish government to engage in gambling activities in the country, there is no legal provision that prohibits international gambling companies from offering their services to local players.
Also, the Act on Lotteries allows foreign organizations to operate within the country. Residents are also allowed by the law to choose between playing on foreign or local gambling platforms. The other gambling company in Finland is called Play Among Friends.
PAF is located in Aland Islands and is allowed by the local government to organize gaming events within the province and on the seas. Therefore, Play Among Friends is not allowed to sell or market its games in other parts of the country. Its very simular to gambling in Nigeria.
The Future of Finnish Gambling Regulations.
Changes in the Act on Lotteries are expected soon. One of the new legal provisions that are expected includes a requirement for gambling firms to identify the customers for their slot machines.
Also, the government has proposed that gamblers would be required to have a Veikkaus account for them to participate in gambling on slot machines. Foreigners will not use slot machines in Finland as the government-owned monopoly can only open accounts for permanent residents.
However, the new regulations will allow players to engage in gambling without a Veikkaus account if they play in halls and casinos owned by the State’s monopoly.
Additionally, the Finnish government has proposed amendments to the application of the Act on Money Laundering and simplifying the procedures for licensing gambling firms in the country.
The new regulations are expected to be implemented by January 2022. The government is also evaluating the possibility of imposing technical restrictions on access and money transfers in the industry.
If the restrictions are implemented, local players will not access or transfer money to foreign gambling firms in the future. According to the vice president of Veikkaus, the company is supportive of the restriction on foreign gambling companies from operating within the country and money transfers to some gaming accounts.
The restriction involves IP-blocking. As a result, gamblers in the country will not access foreign gambling platforms.
The Future of the Government’s Monopoly.
The proposals of new gambling regulations by the Finnish government has attracted the attention of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority. It issued a statement where it requested an evaluation of the government’s monopoly in the industry.
The national body requested an analysis of whether the monopoly has benefits that can justify its existence. A government-owned monopoly in the gambling sector is allowed by the European Union if it is aimed at preventing the negative impact of gambling activities.
Some organizations and individuals have criticized Veikkaus for its involvement in the country’s gambling activities and related marketing initiatives. Such organizations argue that the company’s actions are promoting gambling excessively.
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has also requested an analysis of the government’s monopoly in gambling and whether there are sufficient grounds to maintain it.
Some stakeholders have also questioned the government’s decision to put in place measures such as IP-blocking for foreign gambling firms and restricting money to some gambling accounts in this era of online wallets and digital currency.
The Finnish Sports Bettors Association has opposed the legal proposals by the Finnish government. In light of the developments in the gambling sectors in other countries, some stakeholders argue that the monopoly-based system adopted by the Finnish government is outdated.