Finland Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Finland

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Finland
  • Gambling authorities in Finland
  • Online casinos in Finland
  • and more

Gambling activities are legalized in Finland, but the country’s legislation on the matter is considered relatively complex. The state runs a monopoly in a structure that is usually described as “3+1”. Currently, the main gambling and gaming market is divided between three largely state-owned and controlled entities – Fintoto Oy, RAY and Oy Veikkaus AB.

Flag of FinlandAll forms of gambling are found very attractive by the Finnish citizens, which has made betting one of the most popular pastimes in the country.

Overview

Nevertheless betting operations are legalized on the territory of the country, both gambling and lotteries are illegal when operated for private purposes. The licences of the land-based and web-based operators are provided by the Government. A specific part of the country’s legislation on the matter is the fact that only one license at a time is valid for each kind of gambling and gaming activities.

As explained earlier, there are three organizations that operate in a certain segment of the country’s market.

VeikkausEach of the aforementioned state-controlled bodies runs and manages a separate aspect of gambling. For example, table games and slot machines on the territory of Finland are overseen by RAY, while the national lottery and sports betting are managed by Oy Veikkaus AB. The last operator – Fintoto Oy – currently controls horse race betting activities in the country.

RAY provides a variety of brick-and-mortar gambling games over the country. It is granted with the monopoly over land-based casinos, including slot machines, traditional casino games and table games in Finland.

Oy Veikkaus AB has been licensed to monitor and manage instant win games, as well as sports betting and the national lottery.

Fintoto Oy is entitled with the responsibilities related to parimutuel horse racing activities.

However, no jurisdiction is held by these three companies over the Åland Islands and gambling operations there. All such activities are supervised by PAF – a fourth organization that oversees all kinds of gambling operations in the province. The latter has an autonomous statute, which is the reason why the gaming activities there are subjected to a separate regulator.

Relevant Legislation

rayThe main law that sets up rules concerning money games is the Lottery Act 491/65. The Act came into force on January 1st, 1966 and has remained as the basic gambling regulation law ever since. The gaming system in the country can be described as a licence system based on exclusivity.

The Act gives some major definitions and descriptions. For instance, it classifies slot machines, bingo and casinos that offer prizes of money and commodities as lotteries.

Money gambling operations play an important part when it comes to funding charity activities. This process is also regulated by the Lottery Act, which prescribes the way that the proceeds of the three major gaming operators must be used.

The Lottery Act of Finland went a long way after a law reform has been on the agenda since 1993. Seven years later the proposed changes, based on the current “3+1” monopoly system, were introduced to the country’s Parliament. The alterations in the Finnish gambling legislation officially happened in 2002.

fintotoAccording to the Lottery Act, different licences are issued for different activities, such as operating money lotteries, betting and pools, for managing slot machines, casino games and other casino activities. Another license is given to operators that run totalisator betting. In addition, only one licence can be granted for each of these activities at a time.

The country has, in fact, created a regulated monopoly this way. It has focused its efforts into protecting everyone engaged in gaming activities, as well as preventing gambling for becoming a means related to any criminal activities and reducing its influence on individuals. This is also one of the reasons why no other than these three state-run operators is allowed to offer gaming services on the territory of the coutnry.

The licenses provided by the authorities may be issued for a maximum of half a decade at a time. They are granted to operators by the country’s Government, which also has the right to cancel the provided licenses.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in FinlandUp to date, online gambling activities in Finland is restricted to the state-owned and controlled monopoly operators. The country legalized web-based casino and gaming operations back in 1996 with the authorization of Veikkhaus to provide its land-based games on the Internet, too.

PAF, which currently controls the online gambling in the province of the Åland Islands, was the first operator in the country that offered a full list of online casino and bingo games in its own website in 2007. This, however, became the reason for a conflict between RAY and PAF, due to the fact that RAY believed the other operator infringed on its monopoly.

RAY launched its own casino website in 2010 after acknowledging the right of PAF to regulate the Internet gambling in the region. The other two state-licensed bodies – Fintoto and Veikkaus – also got a permission to offer their gambling services via websites.

Currently, the website that is run by PAF, is accessible for all citizens of the country.

Finland has recently been put under a lot of pressure by the European Union because of the state monopoly imposed over the gambling operations in the country. The European Union insisted on the country to allow companies other then the “3+1”, which were entitled with these rights and responsibilities, to offer gaming services in Finland, both in land-based and web-based casinos.

The country still insists on its claim that the gambling operations there are charitable, but the European Union disagrees on the matter. Despite all the pressure, Finland still does not allow any operator to set foot on its gambling market.

As mentioned above, websites of outlanders that offer gambling activities in the country are currently forbidden and proclaimed as illegal. Still, Finnish players are well-accepted in foreign websites. In addition, there are no legal mechanisms in order to block foreign websites as a whole or any financial transactions made to and from those websites.

Finland does not have a criminal code that proclaims betting with an unlicensed operator as illegal. This basically means that local citizens are free to place bets literally on any foreign website that accepts Finnish player.

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