Finnish Government Outlines Legal Course for Gambling Reform

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The government of Finland has laid out the legal plans it would undertake towards establishing a regulated gambling market by 2026.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Interior, the new project will oversee the transformation of Finland's gambling system in preparation for the implementation of a licensing system. This will end the state-owned Veikkaus gaming monopoly and allow private companies to attain licenses in the new gambling market.

The program builds on the regulatory steps that the Orpo government has been following since the general election in April 2023. The government's activities regarding the development are also based on its preliminary study into international comparisons with the Finnish monopoly system, which was completed in April.

Study Gives Two Recommendations

The preliminary study found Finland's channelization rate to be lower than that of peer countries. It also confirmed that there is an increase in the number of players gambling outside the monopoly system, which is leading to more problem gambling.

The study outlined two solutions to reform the gambling system, including strengthening the existing monopoly system or changing to a licensing model for online casino games and online betting.

Gambling Legislative Proposals

Via the program, the government will create legislative proposals for the restructuring of the gambling system in the coming two years. The recommendations will cover license fees, taxation, approved games, and gambling management tools.

Additionally, regulations will address other issues like gambling-related harm and the supervision and marketing of gambling services. To facilitate this process, the government has set up a political steering group and an intersectoral working group featuring vital ministries and authorities. The project will also welcome contributions from experts across various sectors.

While Veikkaus' monopoly within online casino games and online betting will cease, the company will still retain its monopoly position for lotteries and retail slot machines. In accordance with the government program, the activities that will remain as a monopoly under Veikkaus and those in the competitive market will be divided into distinct companies operating within the same group.

The project will also explore the possibility of relocating game machines to designated control areas.

The Ministry aims to present a reform proposal to parliament in the spring of 2025, while the project will remain active until December 31, 2025.