Finnish Gambling Legislation Gets Tighter
Finland has been one of the top-10 largest gambling nations in the world but will tighter regulations damper the online casino scene?
In 2010, new gambling policies in Finland prohibited foreign bookmakers from using Finnish publications or outlets for advertising gambling products like casinos, mobile apps and games. This essentially granted the Finnish government sole control over all gambling activities, which also meant that profits from gambling were kept in the country.
The problem, however, was that foreign operators were available to Finish gamblers and while illegal, foreign websites were not blocked for local Finnish citizens. The government could discourage players from joining those foreign platforms, but there was nothing legally it could do to stop gamblers from gambling. In fact, the country of Finland and its government can’t restrict foreign operators from accepting players from all over the world.
What it can do, however, is put legislation in place that focuses on marketing and advertising control. There’s a law that prevents foreign bookmakers from using the domain .fi. That’s just one way, however, Finland has attempted to have control over its gaming industry.
Fast forward to 2021, where The Finnish Lotteries Act has been put in place. The law has granted the exclusive right to provide gambling services in Finland to the wholly state-owned operator Veikkaus Oy. The Finnish Lotteries Act defines gambling as a lottery or “an activity in which participants may win, in full or in part, a prize of monetary value based on chance and in which there is a charge for participation.”
Veikkaus Oy is a gaming company that is essentially owned by the Finnish state. Players can take part in games that fall into three categories: Lucky Games, Slot Machines and Instant Games, and Skill Games. Veikkaus’s “special mission” as they call it, is to ensure that all betting activities happen in a safe and responsible manner (and, of course, that all online gambling profits stay in Finland).
That’s not necessarily a knock on the company, however. Veikkaus Oy provides the Finnish community with thousands of jobs and an innovative working environment. The company funds culture and sporting events, supports local youth programs and invests in the social welfare and health. While some would consider the operation self-serving, there’s a lot of good that comes out of Veikkaus Oy.
Gambling services that fall under the exclusive right of Veikkaus cover both land-based and online gambling operations, such as online casinos. All online customers now must be at least 18 years of age, have a Finnish bank account, have a Finnish social security number and have a permanent address in Finland.
Veikkaus will now verify a person’s identity and place of residence when they are opening a player account online, so gamblers can no longer sign up freely without restriction. Free games before players are fully registered are also forbidden, so all marketing activities have to be carried out in a specific manner as well.
Veikkaus is now the largest online betting platforms in Finland. Their only land-based casino is located in Helsinki, which was established in 1991. Another casino is said to open in Tampere, although more than 40 percent of all betting takes place online.
If you’re not restricted by the aforementioned guidelines, here are some foreign websites that were not blocked for local Finnish citizens. There are also casinos offering free spins with no deposit and if you’re interested, the link provided has an online casino comparison that lists all online casinos with the most free spins.