It’s safe to say that Finland has a very unique legal landscape when it comes to gambling. While most European countries practice free markets that are open to fair competition and international operators, Finland writes its own story on the matter. Unfortunately for Finns, this regulatory gambling landscape is not very favorable and Finnish gamblers dislike it, to put it mildly.
As you may already know, Finland focuses on government-regulated operators, which creates a “3+1” environment where only a selected few operators are allowed to offer gambling services in Finland. That goes for both land-based and online gambling activities.
Furthermore, this creates a country-owned monopoly where gambling is heavily regulated. Finland’s government has been defending this stance for a while now as they tax individual and operator gambling gains in order to secure those funds for a variety of social causes, including different charities.
However, the Finnish government hasn’t been able to prevent Finnish citizens from gambling at off-shore online casinos, which is why Finns use reliable sources like kasinohai.com/uudet-kasinot, for example, to find online casinos that suit them the most. So with that in mind, let’s have a more closer look at the legal landscape of online casinos in Finland.
What are the current gambling laws in Finland?
As mentioned before, Finland has a 3+1 government-regulated monopoly over local gambling activities. According to the Finland’s Lotteries Act (1047/2001) only state operator “Veikkaus” is allowed to provide gambling games in Finland. In other words, there is no licensing system that can be awarded to different operators, should they meet certain regulatory standards and other polices.
The goal of Finnish government is to use this monopoly to reduce, prevent and control negative effects of gambling, most importantly gambling addiction. However, back in 2021 the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) stated that the current gambling system has proven ineffective at minimizing the negative effects of gambling. The point in fact is that Finland is one of the leading countries in the world for gambling problems among its populace.
In order to strengthen the monopoly and get another shot at minimizing negative effects of gambling, amendments were introduced that include penalties and payment blocks for service providers. In other words, payment service providers are obligated to block payments and other transactions made by Finns towards online casinos not operating in Finland. All off the amendments are in effect as of 2023.
Finnish overlook of foreign online casinos
Although all the amendments to the Lotteries Act are in place, Finnish gamblers still find a way to play their favorite casino games at international or off-shore casinos. One might wonder why that is so when gambling is available in Finland, even though it’s regulated by the government. Well, that’s exactly why Finns look for outside sources of gambling and entertainment.
Being limited by selected operators that provided limited number of games and bonuses, as well as having you winning and payments heavily taxed, isn’t something Finnish gamblers are very fond off. In this particular case, grass is, in fact, greener on the other side of the fence. EU free market provides Finnish players with a myriad of options not only when it comes to operators but also for game variety, bonuses and tax-free transactions.
International casinos are happy to accept players from Finland so it’s only natural that Finns would choose off-shore operators over the local ones. An even if local operators would to provide better offers, the heavy tax implications would still drive most of the Finns away and towards off-shore operators.
Potential changes to Finland’s gambling laws
Finns’ venturing outside their border to play casino games has finally made an impact on the local government. As a matter of fact, Finns are spending more money at international casinos than local ones. That said, back in September, 2022, Veikkaus has reported that their profits are decreasing and that they now only hold 70% of market share in Finland.
Even though political parties in Finland have protected the monopoly so far, most of them are beginning to reconsider their support. If you’re wondering why, it’s because of monetary gains, of course. The way things are now, Finland would profit more from issuing licenses to foreign casino operators than they are from current taxation of local gambling. Therefore, a major potential change might happen in Finland after all. However, the licensing of commercial online gambling market cannot happen overnight.
Even Veikkaus agrees that it’s time for fast transition so that Finland can capitalize on the opportunity that has presented itself, but some of the political leader are more in favor of a slower and well-calculated approach. It seems that Finland will use the licensing model that’s in place in Sweden and Denmark, provided they decide to make the necessary changes, in the first place. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.