The possible future of Finnish gambling legislation and the monopoly of Veikkaus

Veikkaus Oy is the Finnish government-owned betting agency which holds a monopoly regarding gambling services in Finland.

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has recently stated that the Finnish gambling legislation should be reformed in a manner, which would enable more efficient measures to intervene and mitigate gambling problems. Lasse Pöyry, an economist for the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, stated that the reform could be carried out either by dismantling the monopoly of Veikkaus and transitioning to a licensing system or by further-strengthening the current monopoly of Veikkaus.

The licensing system would allow foreign online casinos to operate in Finland subject to the relevant terms of the system. Within said system, Finland could require that the licensing system has a shared suspension system or Finland could increase the supervision capabilities of authorities for example by supervising player amounts and money transfers. The suspension system would enable a gambling addict to acquire a suspension to all gambling services operating under the license system instead of acquiring individual suspensions for every service.

According to Pöyry, the second solution is to further-strengthen the current monopoly of Veikkaus which in practice would mean prohibiting all foreign online casinos in Finland. The prohibition could be accomplished with blocking money transfers or with geo-blocking, of which the latter can be considered as a somewhat intrusive measure.

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority did not state which solution they would prefer but it is evident that the current regulatory environment is not sustainable or preferable for consumers struggling with gambling addiction. Thereby it is likely that the Finnish regulatory environment will be subject to legislative changes within the next few years – it however remains to be seen to which direction Finland is heading.

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