Finland remains one of Europe’s few gambling monopolies, in which a state-backed company controls the sports betting and gaming market.
Discussing developments in the Finnish sector on a recent webinar released by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Joe Evans, Global Managing Editor, Vixio Gambling Compliance, spoke to a range of leading experts on the matter.
Jari Vahanen, Co-Founder, Finnish Gambling Consultants, shared his perspective on the situation Finland’s gambling industry has found itself in.
“For some reason, the revenue has decreased year after year, when we have had just one monopoly operator. The main reason for this has been two different expectations from the Finnish state, the owner of the company.
At the same they have been looking for new revenues from Veikkaus, but also less gambling problems. It hasn’t been clear enough from Veikkaus and Veikkaus management as to what they should do. Unclear expectations, that is my own opinion.
“What has happened now, not only during the COVID time, but also before that and despite that, we have had more discussions about Finnish gambling policy than ever before, and not only positive discussions – it has mainly concentrated on a number of gambling problems, which have stayed at the same level all the time.”
A working group has been established by the Finnish government, which has since introduced the Lottery Act proposing to reform the country’s gambling law, which was sent to the EU earlier this year.
As far as Vahanen is aware, the new legislation is ‘almost the same’ as current Finnish regulatory oversight, and will be viewed by the national parliament ‘in the next few weeks’.
The law will mean Finland will continue to function as a monopoly-based gambling sector, with little to no consideration made, according to Vahanen, with regards to the introduction of a multi-operator, licence-based system, as is employed in countries such as the UK.
He did, however, achkwneodlge that there has been ‘public debate’ on a radical overhaul of Finland’s gambling market to a licencing model, but ‘nothing more’ has been discussed or developed outside of this.
Additional guests on the webinar included Ed Birkin, Senior Consultant, H2 Gambling Capital; Rolf Simms, Public Affairs Manager – Nordics, Kindred Group; and Birgitte Sand, CEO Birgitte Sand and Associates, former Director, Danish Gambling Authority (DGA).