Finland remains one of the last EU countries still operating with a gambling monopoly. This means that the international gambling providers generate no revenue for the country and their operation is not as strictly regulated as Veikkaus’.
However, there might be big changes ahead as Finland considers ending the monopoly with the agreement of both the government and the opposition. At this point, it might be beneficial to turn our gaze towards other countries that have previously made the change towards licensing.
Finland - Current state of affairs
Even though foreign operators can not do any marketing in Finland at the moment, by looking at any comparison site, one can see many active brands on the market. For example at Kasinot24, there are close to hundred brands that target Finnish players with their welcome offers.
These operators have been under strict observation when it comes to their marketing towards Finnish consumers. At the moment, only the government-owned Veikkaus has been able to freely advertise to Finnish clientele.
Swedish gambling monopoly ended in 2019, when they moved towards a licensing-based market. The decision was fairly unanimous, as foreign gambling operators had taken over up to 20 percent of all Sweden’s online gambling market, while the country was unable to tax them.
Sweden has set an 18 percent tax for the gambling operators. Another main difference has been the fact that only casinos with a Swedish license have been allowed to offer their services to Swedish customers, which might be at least partially responsible for the reported 5 % rise of gambling revenue in 2022.
Estonia’s new gambling act came into effect in 2010 and dealt with online gambling, unlike the previous legislation which only affected gambling offline. Their license is familiar to most Finnish players as well, because many of the online casinos operating in Finland have been doing so under an Estonian license.
After some modification in 2012, the act allows operators to conduct their business in Estonia as long as their servers are located in a validly licensed territory that liaises with the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.
The act allows promotion of gambling in certain circumstances. Advertisement over email, phone or mail is allowed if the recipient has subscribed to it and is able to cancel the subscription any time.
Denmark went forward with a new gambling act in 2012, when the market was partially opened. Operators can apply for a license for betting and online casinos.
Purely fortune-based games, such as bingo, raffle tickets and lottery, require a special license from the gambling monopoly Danske Lotteri Spil A/S and government-owned Det Danske Klasselotteri A/S. The entirety of the gambling industry in Denmark is overseen by independent government-owned Spillemyndigheden.
Danish gambling authorities have reported that compared to the previous year, the total gaming revenue was up 7,5 percent in 2022. Online casinos were the largest segment within these numbers.
The reasoning behind a license-based system is reducing gambling problems while bringing some much needed revenue to Finland, as foreign online casinos have currently taken a large portion of Veikkaus revenue.
There are many positive examples from neighboring countries.
- In Sweden, a majority of gambling sites have applied for a Swedish license and been obliged to follow government regulations.
- Sweden has also been able to tax foreign gambling operators, which resulted in five times more tax income during the first six months than anticipated.
- In Denmark, gaming authorities are allowed to block network traffic to unauthorized sites.
Finland is actually following in their footsteps on the last one, as the National Police Board of Finland started to block any traffic to gambling sites not following Finland’s current gambling legislation since the beginning of 2023.
The licensing system has made the gambling operators work under the same rules. This might be a welcome change for Finland as well, since online casinos are wildly popular but can’t currently be under proper supervision as they are licensed elsewhere.
This article was written in cooperation with BAZOOM