Finland Bids Farewell to Gambling Monopoly

A Strategic Shift in Finnish Gambling Policy

Since 2017, Finland’s gambling scene has been dominated by a state-enforced monopoly, stemming from the merger of three state-owned entities: Veikkaus, Raha-automaattiyhdistys, and Fintoto. This consolidation left Finnish gamblers with scant options, stifling competition and market evolution.

Now, finally, the Finnish government has made a decision to allow licensing with the purpose to attract big international gambling sites to operate in the country.

A Reevaluation of Intentions

Initially, the Finnish government’s rationale for the monopoly was to keep gambling revenues within national borders, simplifying oversight. However, this approach has not weathered the advent of online gambling, rendering regulation efforts somewhat Quixotic.

Tytti Tuppurainen, a vocal parliamentarian, highlights the ineffectiveness of stringent controls in curbing the infiltration of foreign betting entities. The ambitious vision of a tightly regulated, monopolistic market has devolved into an uncontrollable “wild gray zone,” prompting a pivotal shift towards a licensing model anticipated to rejuvenate the Finnish gambling landscape by 2026.

Norway at a Crossroads: Observing Finland’s Pivot

Finland’s departure from its monopoly stance, a unique position within the EU, raises pertinent questions for Norway, another stronghold of gambling exclusivity. The shift underscores the potential benefits of embracing a licensing regime, proven to streamline regulation and market participation in numerous jurisdictions.

Norway’s ongoing battle against illicit gambling operators — from DNS blocks to internet service provider restrictions — underscores the Sisyphean task of curbing unregulated online gambling. The prospect of a licensing system in Norway, akin to Finland’s forthcoming model, suggests a pathway to more effective market control and enhanced protection for gamblers against rogue operators.

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Jacob Evans Written by Jacob Evans