The gambling regulations in Finland make for an intriguing position within the country and within the European Union, of which Finland is a member. The government has a monopoly on the gaming industry, and all types of gambling are legal in the country.
Finland does not currently issue licenses for offshore operators, however there has been talk of instituting such a system in the near future.
Keep reading to get the lowdown on the Finnish gaming legislation.
Casino Games and Their Regulatory Status
Finland has a law against gambling known as the Lotteries Act (1047/2001). Gambling is defined as a form of lottery in which the winners receive monetary prizes. “any activity in which participants may win a prize of monetary value based in whole or in part on chance and in which there is a charge to participate,” the legislation defines gambling as.
All types of gambling are legal in Finland, but the government monopoly heavily controls them, making Finland’s stance on the activity quite clear despite the difficulty of defining gambling. Veikkaus Oy, which is owned by the Finnish government, is the only gambling operator in mainland Finland. In the self-governing land Islands, Penningautomatförening (PAF) has the same authority.
All types of gambling, both offline and online, are allowed in Finland so long as they are offered by Veikkaus or PAF, with the exception of betting on blood sports, which is illegal because it is considered animal cruelty.
Offshore gambling enterprises are not granted licenses in the same way that they would be in many other European nations. This runs counter to EU gambling directives that state providers from all EU member states should be able to operate within the bloc. There are signs that a license system may soon be set up in the region, despite Finland’s recent modification (2022) to the Finnish Lotteries Act to maintain the country’s gaming monopoly.
Let’s break down the present gambling laws in Finland by type of wager.
There are currently 16 land-based casinos in Finland, with most of them located in the bigger cities. The Grand Casino Helsinki in the capital city is the most visited. Veikkaus (or PAF on the land Islands) owns and manages all casinos across Finland.
Like land-based casinos, online gambling in Finland is regulated by a single monopoly. Veikkaus offers online casino games and services to Finnish residents on the main island. Conflict arises between the two monopolies because PAF offers its online casino not just to residents of the land islands but also to those of mainland Finland.
Although it is against the law for offshore online casinos to provide services to Finnish citizens, many do so anyhow, justifying their actions with EU fair competition laws.
Even though poker is the most played card game in Finland, just two casinos host regular tournaments. Once again, Veikkaus on the mainland and PAF on the land islands hold monopolies in the provision of poker gambling services.
Neither Veikkaus nor PAF allow online poker playing, thus Finnish players must sign up with offshore sites to satisfy their gambling cravings.
Bingo is a popular form of gambling in Finland, both offline and online, and is regulated by Veikkaus. All offline bingo games in Finland must be licensed by the state-owned firm Veikkaus, with the exception of non-profit and charitable bingo events.
Veikkaus also provides online bingo gambling, and licensed charities and non-profits are allowed to provide online bingo games to residents of Finland. Despite Finland’s best efforts, its citizens do have access to international online bingo sites.
Veikkaus has a monopoly on all forms of gaming in the country, including lotteries. You can purchase lottery tickets either physically or digitally through the Veikkaus website.
Playing online lottery games for real money is possible for Finns at offshore lottery sites, where they can wager on the results of lotteries all over the world. Once again, the government has taken measures in recent years to ensure that Veikkaus does not issue licenses for this type of gambling.
Loot boxes and social games.
In Finland, gambling is defined as an exchange of money or goods for an uncertain outcome. Despite the fact that social casinos may provide their users with the option to play games using play chips, the sale of such chips would be prohibited under the Finnish Lotteries Act.
In Finland, loot boxes are not considered gambling unless players are required to pay in order to get the loot inside. The same holds true for skins gambling, as the goods being wagered on have a monetary worth in the eyes of the players.
Legality of Sports Betting in Finland
Although sports betting is legal in Finland, only Veikkaus and PAF are authorized to provide such services on the mainland and the land Islands, respectively.
The popularity of betting on football and ice hockey has surpassed that of horse racing in recent years. Each monopoly in the area provides options for wagering on sporting events both physically and digitally.
Maximum Gambling Age Set at 21
Finland has a legal gambling age of 18. That means that the minimum age to gamble in brick-and-mortar casinos, play at internet casinos, or engage in any other form of gambling in the country is eighteen.
Finland’s gambling tax law levies several different fees, all of which are proportional to the industry’s take. Veikkaus is required to pay taxes of 30% on all other gaming earnings and prizes in addition to 12% on gross revenues.
Whether or whether Finnish players are actually exempt from paying income tax on their profits from sites located within the EEA is unclear.
Finland’s Gambling Laws: A Brief History
Finland’s gambling history begins in the 17th century, and the practice was only outlawed between the years 1899 and 1917.
The Finnish Slot Machine Association, Raha-automaattiyhdistys (RAY), the horse racing betting firm Fintoto, and the lottery operator Veikkaus were the original monopolizers of the gambling industry in Finland. However, in 2017, the three combined into Veikkaus Oy, which now operates all land-based casinos in Finland and most of the country’s internet gambling sites.
Penningautomatförening (PAF), a government-owned monopoly established in 1966, regulates gaming on the land Islands, both physically and digitally.
Gambling in Finland is governed by the Lotteries Act, which was enacted in 2001 and will be updated in 2022 to further strengthen the government’s commitment to preserving monopolistic control of the industry within its boundaries.
Summary of Finland’s Online Gambling Regulations
The gambling regulations of Finland are quite intriguing. Only state-owned Veikkaus Oy on the main island of Finland and PAF on the land islands are permitted to offer legal gaming.
Finnish players can access online slot machines, card games, and bingo at either Veikkaus Oy or PAF. Despite this, many Finnish gamers opt to play at one of the several offshore online casinos that accept their currency.
Despite the fact that the Finnish government discourages this practice and is becoming increasingly tough on international online casinos by blocking their sites and prohibiting advertising in Finland, players are not punished in any way for engaging in this activity. There is evidence to imply that the country may soon adopt a license-based system.