finland/finnish parliament

Finland warned that gambling harms do not match gambling prevalence trends

Finland’s Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) has expressed detailed concerns about the increasing instances of gambling-related disorders, even as Finland experiences a decline in gambling participation.

The observation was made by the Health Institute during its public survey to ascertain the prevalence of moderate and problem gambling risks among Finnish adults. 

The Institute, responsible for monitoring records on disorders or abuse related to all forms of addiction, has conducted the “Gambling Population Survey” every four years, starting in 2007.

The 2023 survey, which involved 5,977 participants, revealed that 4.2% were engaged in moderate risk or problem gambling, equating to approximately 151,000 people at the population level. This represents an increase from 3% in previous THL surveys. 

Despite THL’s findings showing a decline in gambling participation to 70% of Finns engaging in gambling activities in the past 12 months (65% of women and 75% of men) – which amounts to approximately 2,500,000 people – there is a notable decline from the 78% prevalence rate reported over 12 months in 2019/2020. 

THL Research Manager, Anne Salonen, cited that the Finnish government and health services should be aware of the abnormalities reported on gambling harms and prevalence as “even though gambling has decreased, the preliminary results clearly show that more serious problems have increased”.

Of significance, Finland’s gambling prevalence reports indexes the data of state-owned gambling operator Veikkaus and Åland Islands operator Paf.

2023 developments saw Finland’s new conservative coalition government led by Petteri Orpo commit to a ‘policy programme’ which will review the state-owned assets.

The coalition’s programme intends to end the Finnish gambling current monopoly system in favour of a new licensing model by “no later than 2026”.

The THL has submitted its survey findings to the Finnish Parliament (Suomen Eduskunta) as the Ministers proceed to revise the Lotteries Act, ending its monopoly structures and introducing a new market framework.


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