The gambling land scape In Finland

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Finland has just 16 physical casinos, but this has not prevented the gambling industry from being the country’s most popular niche. Most Fins would rather access their favourite games via online casinos. The casinos give the people the chance to have fun playing various games at slot machines developed by reputed brands such as Sweden’s NETEnt, who are quite consistent at unleashing fresh and exciting content into the market. 

Evolution Of Gambling Laws In Finland

The growth of the industry has had many across the globe surprised. The gambling space in Finland has a humble beginning; it started with just the Payazzo machine in the 20s. today, it is a force to reckon with, and features impressive products that many can access on platforms such as Casinokokemus.

The gambling space has come from far compared to where it is today, but most importantly, it has seen new laws come into effect to better manage how people access their favorite markets. Let’s have a loot at how gambling laws have changed over the years. 

Early Days

Since WWII, the government has enjoyed a huge monopoly in the gambling space. Every stakeholder in this space answered to the authority the day. The industry was under total government control for many years, as it still is today. Europe, isn’t happy about this, and thinks of it as protectionism. This has made gambling in this country much more unique that what you would find elsewhere.  

Different types of slots came into Finland in the 20s, and started individual businesses, something the government wasn’t very happy about. As a result, the government declared that only charities would be licensed to run these businesses. 

Five years after the gambling space was born, Raha-automaattiyhdisty came into play to regulate the gambling industry. Its mandate was to ensure responsible gambling. The body was also in charge of licensing and the production of slot machines. 

Additional Regulations Come Into Play

The next decade saw tiny regulators come into force. Thereafter, things remained the same for nearly 50 years, up until Finland enacted the Lotteries Act, 2001, as the legislation in charge of gambling. 

The government’s monopoly in this space was restructured to ensure it continued to oversee gambling activities. 

While the new Act was designed to help government stay on top of things, it favors gamblers too. It brought with it a reliable mechanism that protects player interests by minimizing addiction. 

The Act of 2001 is still in force today, and has seen only a single amendment so far, nearly 11 years ago. Today, just four bodies are in charge of order and legislation of all land-based entities; Veikkaus OY, Finoto OY and PAF. 

New Slot Machine Verification Requirements

At the start of 2021, Veikkaus brought into force new rules meant to protect players who use gambling machines at third-party locations through what they call responsible gambling. 

All those who wish to participate at non-casino sites like restaurants, stores or kiosks have to present their identification before they are allowed to gamble. The identification can be checked for authenticity via a mobile application, payment card, or a card. 

Due to these changes, Veikkaus experience significant financial losses. It is estimated that player losses decreased $365m. The rules were also meant to prevent those on the exclusion list from gambling. 

Why Are Slot Machines Popular In Finland?

In Finland, slot machines are quite common. They can be found at supermarkets, shops and even restaurants. This isn’t a surprising thing for the regular Finn, given how much they love to gamble. It is estimated that Finns spend close to €2 billion each year at casinos. This is a colossal figure, considering that there are only 5 million people over there. 

This is considered healthy for the economy as the revenue is used to improve the country’s infrastructure. This works for Finland because the government has all the control over the industry. 

While no private entities can set up shop in the country, most people frequent international online casinos such as Casinbonukset and BonusKoodit. These businesses are happy to have Finns play at their slots. Hundreds such casinos exist and allow Finns to enjoy games via illegal channels. This has been the case for a while now since there is no law that makes it illegal for them to visit international slots. 

Land Based Vs Online Casinos In Finland

About 50 cities in Finland are within proximity to the 87 legal brick and mortar casinos. In the country, the largest gambling city is Espoo, with over 5 sites, while the largest casino is Grand Casino Helsinki. 

The country has no jurisdictional restrictions when it comes to gambling, but each Finn is required by law to present a security number, permanent address and bank account to access land-based and online casinos. 

Another trend that is taking shape in the country is Bitcoin gambling. But, while you can find a Bitcoin ATM in various places across Finland, this practice is only allowed in online casinos. It is illegal in all brick-and-mortar casinos. 

The Future Of Finnish Online Gambling

Finland’s gambling space has remained stable for a while now, with revenues growing steadily. There is some chatter that the government is considering opening up the landscape to external online firms. 

The presence of only a single player on the market has increased online gaming addition levels in the country. However, the government notes that the system offer the people a peace of mind. Also, no one has to constantly worry about the presence of false firms eyeing Finnish revenue.  

However, this isn’t a favorable approach for people whose addiction for gambling grows by the day. As such, the government set up tighter measures to encourage responsible gambling. 

For these reasons, it is highly improbable that the government would be thinking about allowing external firms access to its market. What the government want to continue doing into the foreseeable future is stay in charge, and project authority over the gambling space. 

This article was written in cooperation with Veikkaus