Unlocking the Finnish Gambling Landscape: A Shift Towards Reform

Unlocking the Finnish Gambling Landscape: A Shift Towards Reform

Cheryl Jones

Managing Director, IC360 Advisory, EMEA

Nov 7, 2023

This dramatic shift, away from a well-established monopoly towards an innovative licensing system, marks a seismic change in the Finnish gambling arena. What sets this transformation apart is the remarkable unity it has forged among government and opposition parties, making it a truly remarkable and unifying moment in Finnish politics.

Finland’s Unique Position

For years, Finland held a unique position within the European Union, maintaining a monopoly over various forms of gambling through Veikkaus Oy. This state-owned entity exclusively governed a wide array of activities.

In June, the Finnish Government made a groundbreaking announcement, setting forth its intentions to liberalise the online gambling market and introduce a licensing system by January 2026. This pivotal decision emerged after an exhaustive study compared Finland’s existing monopoly system with those of peer countries. The findings of this study overwhelmingly recommended a shift towards a more open and competitive gambling market.

The envisioned licensing system in Finland will draw inspiration from Sweden’s successful hybrid model, incorporating elements of both licensing and monopoly. Under this system, Veikkaus Oy will retain its monopoly grip on certain sectors while ushering in a new era of licensed online betting and online casinos. Alongside this structural change, Veikkaus itself will be divided into two separate legal entities: one overseeing monopoly services and the other responsible for managing licensed gambling activities. Central to the essence of this licensing system is an unwavering commitment to curbing gambling-related harm. Underpinning this transition is that the licensing model will substantially boost Finland’s channelisation rate toward legal gambling platforms. Currently, only half of Finnish gamblers opt for regulated services.

Prioritising Responsible Gambling

In pursuit of responsible gambling, stringent marketing regulations will be enforced. Players will be required to grant explicit consent, and a centralized service point will be established to facilitate self-exclusion from all licensed gambling platforms. These comprehensive measures are thoughtfully designed to foster a safer gambling environment and provide essential protections for vulnerable individuals.

Combating Illicit Activities

Finland has long grappled with significant revenue losses due to illegal gambling activities occurring outside the confines of the state monopoly. Conservative estimates suggest that the Finnish State hemorrhages approximately €550 million annually due to this ongoing issue. The transition to a licensing system is poised to equip the government with more potent tools to combat these illegal gambling operations effectively.

Moreover, the new regulatory framework will empower the Finnish regulator to take more robust measures against money laundering and maintain the integrity of sports betting. By doing so, it ensures that the gambling industry remains aboveboard while redirecting much-needed revenues from illicit operators back into the government’s coffers.

Embracing Change for Player Protection

Finland’s shift from a monopolistic gambling regime to a forward-looking licensing system represents a momentous leap for the nation’s gambling industry. Grounded in their commitment to responsible gaming, a drive to increase legal platform usage, and a dedication to ending illicit activities, Finland is poised to usher in a safer, more regulated gambling environment.

This transformation has transcended party lines, winning support from across the political spectrum and is hailed as a progressive step toward modernising the nation’s gambling landscape while safeguarding the interests of its citizens. As Finland embraces this change, it aligns itself with countries adopting flexible and effective regulatory systems in the contemporary era.


Preliminary study on alternative models for the gambling system | in Finnish