There are five Nordic countries, and Finland is the one most in the north in the European Union. It has a population of 5 471 753, statistics of 2015, just 1,1% of the EU population. Finland shares a border with Sweden, Norway, and Russia, having an area of 338 440 Km2. The country has joined the European Union on January 1st, 1995, and the Eurozone in January 1st, 1999. Helsinki is the capital, and the official languages are Finnish as well as Swedish.
When talking about gambling in Finland we are talking about a legalized activity, even if the existing legislation is complex. There is a state monopoly divided by three companies, meaning that private companies don’t play a part there. Regardless of who operates gambling, Finnish love to gamble, and it’s one of the most popular hobbies in the country.
Gambling licenses are issued by the government, both for online and land-based operators. The particularity in Finland is that only one license is issued for each type of gambling, meaning that those three organizations only operate in one segment of the market.
Practically, this means that RAY is the company responsible for table games and slot machines, while the lottery and sports betting are the responsibility of Oy Veikkaus AB. Horse race betting is the responsibility of Fintoto Oy, the third operator.
These three organizations hold the monopoly for those areas in land-based casinos, except in Aland Islands, a region with an autonomous status regulated by PAF, a fourth organization who controls that province.
If we consider that the basic gambling regulation in Finland was created in 1966 and remains active (the Lottery Act 491/65), we understand how a state monopoly is still possible these days. The definitions of this law also categorize slots, bingo, and casinos that offer prize money as lotteries.
A central part of gambling in Finland is that there is a direct connection between gambling revenues and the funding of charity, a process that is regulated by the Lottery Act.
This Lottery Act has suffered some changes since 1966, and the most recent ones date back to 2002, but it’s still the regulated monopoly between those 3+1 organizations. The changes were primarily aimed at the protection of gamblers, and prevention of association of gambling with criminal activities.
The legalization of gambling happened back in 1996, both for web-based casinos and online gambling. PAF was the first Finnish operator to offer an online casino, in 2007. This lead to conflicts with RAY that felt their monopoly had been invaded. It took 3 years for RAY to get an online casino up and running (only in 2010), and also to acknowledge the right of PAF to regulate their region.
The European Union has been putting Finland under pressure because monopolies are not allowed in the EU, and private companies have the same right to operate in this market.
Finland claims that gambling in the country has a charitable purpose, something the EU disagrees on and therefore doesn’t allow any private operators. Any foreign gambling sites are declared illegal, but at the same time Finnish players can gamble there, and there are no mechanisms to block those sites or their financial transactions.
The legislation doesn’t exist saying that betting on a site of an unlicensed operator is illegal, so the local citizens can gamble freely without fearing any penalty.
Where to play?
If we want to gamble online in Finland we do have the choice over the legal and the illegal casinos, so here are a few of them where we can find quality gambling.
|Euro Palace||Video Slots||Guts Casino|
|Royal Panda||Royal Vegas||Mr Green|