Finland readies to break away from gambling monopoly

Finland readies to break away from gambling monopoly

Finland readies to break away from gambling monopoly
Finland is making an important and some would say overdue step in liberalizing its gambling market with the backing of the government which has introduced a new project that will see the state monopoly, Veikkaus Ltd, break up. Veikkaus is currently the only entity that may offer gambling products, such as sports betting and casino, in Finland, but this is changing, as the Ministry of the Interior of the country has put forward a new legislative project to introduce a licensing system modeled after European best practices. The government’s intentions have already been welcomed by EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer who said that it was a “meaningful and overdue” reform of gambling in Finland. Haijer argued that the introduction of a regulated and liberalized market would mean that Finnish consumers could benefit from better safeguards and also establish fair competition between different stakeholders. “With these changes of the Finnish legislation, all member states of the EU will now have some form of licensing regime for online gambling,” he wrapped up. Of course, the launch of the regulated gambling market in Finland is still some time away from launching officially. Finland too is committed to enacting this change seeing the benefits thereof. The government believes that through a liberalized gambling framework, it can significantly improve the channelization rates for the regulated gambling market, something that has proven difficult right now as there is only a single operator. There has been evidence to suggest that gambling outside of Veikkaus has actually increased, leading to a higher level of gambling-related harm in the country. A study submitted earlier this year indicated that switching to a license model could help restrict the offshore market’s access, albeit not eliminate it. Finland though would not see its gambling market launch in the next couple of years, as the government will take the time through December 31, 2025, to finalize the project. Among the big-ticket items to discuss here are the license fees and taxation, the license system as a whole, and what safeguards can be put in place to protect consumers against gambling-related harm. Veikkaus too seems to be warming up to the idea. Veikkaus Deputy CEO Velipekka Numinous has welcomed the changes, arguing that they are indeed a step in the right direction. Numinous confirmed that the operator will be supporting the project all the way through and ensure that it helps bring around the biggest gambling reform in the history of the country. However, the operator has not always been so upbeat about the prospect of breaking up the monopoly, cautioning on several occasions that job losses are to be expected should the plan go through. Image credit: Unsplash.com

26 OCT 2023

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