Researchers Plead For Ending Casino Monopoly in Finland
Researchers want to end the casino monopoly in Finland. In the Scandinavian country, casino games may only be offered by one operator. In January, the Finnish government announced that it was going to launch an investigation about its own gambling policy in comparison with that of other countries. Finland is considering switching to a licensing system.
According to the outcomes of the investigation, Finland should go ahead and update its current gambling policy, researchers believe. The government commissioned research into Finland’s current monopoly model, looking at other countries such as the Netherlands. Finland is currently one of the few European countries that still operates with a monopoly. Veikkaus is the only company allowed to offer online betting in Finland.
Researchers now propose two models; the Norwegian model and the Swedish-Dutch model. In the first model, the local regulator is granted more flexibility to impose restrictions on illegal providers, whilst the Swedish-Dutch model offers licensees the chance to operate their gambling products. This provides room for multiple online casinos, as long as they have a licence.
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Protecting Players is Paramount
Opting for the licensing system should always have the objective of protecting players. This should lead to limited marketing activities of providers of games whilst it gives the local regulator sufficient resources to rule the market. Transparent rules to counter problem gambling and gambling-related harm are also needed to guarantee a safe environment. Researchers refer to, among other things, the mandatory identification of all players and a centralised, self-exclusion system. According to them, these are effective measures to combat both gambling problems and illegal providers.
Excessive restrictions, however, will have the opposite effect, according to the study:
“The restrictions should not be too restrictive. On the contrary, they should not encourage operators to evade the licensing system. In that case, there is a risk that the licensing system will not achieve its goals.”
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50% Spendings Go To Illegal Market
One of the main reasons why the Finnish government wants to investigate the possibilities is to be able to compete with illegal providers.
It is not so much about the number of players who play at operators without a licence, but about the amounts of money wagered on these platforms. Only 5 to 6% of Finnish players do not play with a legal operator. However, that relatively small percentage of players accounts for € 500 (NZ$ 894m) to € 550 million (NZ$ 983m) per year in revenue, which represents about 50% of the total market in Finland.
Veikkaus, the only legal operator in the country, recommended switching to a licensing model. Velipekka Nummikoski, director of Veikkaus, stated in 2022 that Veikkaus cannot compete with illegal casinos in some areas. Nummikoski stated: “In the licensing system, “everyone operates on the same playing field”.
Majority Finns Favour A Licence System
A recent survey, conducted by Finnish polling specialist Bilendi shows that more Finns support than oppose the idea of abolishing the country’s gambling monopoly and adopting a licence system for gambling operators. The interviews were conducted within Bilendi Oy’s nationwide consumer panel during March 20 to 24 2019. The survey error margin is ±3.1 percentage points. The survey found that 31% of Finns want to end the current monopoly and adopt a licence system instead, whereas 27% of Finns are opposed to the new plans. Other participants do not have an opinion or have a neutral stance
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Veikkaus Oy is the government-owned betting agency which holds a monopoly in the country of Finland. Veikkaus was established in 2017 as a result of the merger between three monopoly operators, Fintoto, Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY), and lottery Veikkaus. Veikkaus operates in both the online and the brick and mortar markets.
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