A legislative project announced this week by Finland’s Ministry of the Interior for the abolition of the monopoly held by Veikkaus Oy over gambling in the country has been warmly received by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).
The pan-European trade body has outlined joint-objectives with the Finnish government over the decision to end the Veikkaus monopoly, which is one of the last such systems in place in Europe.
Policymakers in Finland, as well as leadership of Veikkaus itself, decided on replacing the monopoly system with a ‘partial licensing’ one last year, largely due to concerns around channelisation.
Large numbers of Finnish bettors have been choosing to wager and play casino games with offshore firms not licensed in the country. This has led to concerns among policymakers that consumers may not be being safeguarded with adequate player protection measures.
“This is a welcome step towards meaningful and overdue gambling reform in Finland,” said Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary General.
“The introduction of multi-licensing would provide greater choice and safeguards to Finnish consumers, ensure fairer competition between operators, and enable the Finnish authorities to have greater control over their online gambling market.
“With these changes of the Finnish legislation, all member states of the EU will now have some form of licensing regime for online gambling. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the Finnish Government and local stakeholders as the regulatory discussions develop.”
The adoption of a partial licence system in Finland will bring multiple benefits to the country, EGBA asserted. This includes enhancement of player protection, boosting tax revenues, creating a level playing field of compliance requirements and enacting effective oversight of the national market.
Implementation of the ‘partial licence system’ preferred by Finland – which would see Veikkaus retain monopoly over lottery and retail betting and gaming but private licences issued for online betting and betting – is still some time away however.
The legislative project announced by the Interior Ministry – which will examine the legislative process and prospects of gambling reform – will run until 31 December 2025, concluding with a legislative proposal in spring 2025.
Interestingly, a previous report by the Interior Ministry had highlighted Norway as an ideal model for Finland to follow – in a statement last week, EGBA encouraged Norway to also widen its licensing system.