Finland: how to run gambling business in terms of monopoly
Choosing an online casino, a gamer first of all finds out whether it has a license that guarantees flawless work and safety. So, if you plan to set up your own business in Europe, your primary task is to obtain a license for gambling.
We have already investigated peculiarities of launching gambling business on Malta and in Estonia. This article will feature gambling conditions in Finland.
History of gambling in Finland
Gambling has been thriving in this country since the reign of a king of Sweden. In XII century, the Finns were fond of lotteries. The first slot machines were brought to Finland from Germany in the early 20th century, and the first and single land-based casino called Grand Casino Helsinki appeared in 1991. The second one is planned to be set in Tampere.
Currently, the basic document regulating gambling in Finland is Lottery Act published in 1966. According to it, all the games that can bring financial benefit are regarded as a lottery.
Finnish gambling market belongs to three main players:
- Fintoto Oy is engaged in horse racing.
- RAY deals with casinos, slot machines and table games (roulette, blackjack, etc.).
- Oy Veikkaus AB controls lotteries and betting industry.
Another gambling operator PAF is based on the Åland Islands, an autonomous Swedish-speaking part of Finland.
The abovementioned organizations run a business under control of the Finnish government. All the revenue generated by gambling is directed to social projects: sports, art, science and education.
In 2017, due to the initiative of Finnish authorities, three leading gambling operators merged into a larger monopoly on this industry.
Despite the European Union has urged free trade for all market players a number of times, Finland does not ban a state gambling cartel.
Foreign operators on Finnish gambling market
According to the legislation of Finland, foreign online casinos are prohibited. However, the mechanism banning foreign online casinos has not been elaborated yet. Thus, Finn players can easily enter any gambling websites all over the globe.
Finnish gambling rules
Following the reforms that came into force in 2012, Finnish authorities stick to the monopoly and the idea that gambling is ‘an abnormal economic activity’.
The Finnish government is oriented on player rights protection by introducing limits on betting, timing and age. All clients of an online casino have to register in a special informational system for population abbreviated PIS and provide an address, a social insurance number and age.
Requirements to a player:
- a bank account in Finland;
- a social insurance number in Finland;
- living in country’s mainland.
How to get a gambling license in Finland
The Finnish government does not show a great interest in international companies legalization. RAY and PAF are the single organizations that have a permission given by Finnish official bodies for a legal launch of interactive gambling websites.
In 2010, a renowned gaming developer Playtech managed to sign a contract allowing the company to present own software solutions and products in the gambling industry under control of RAY.
Since the gambling market of Finland is monopolized and state-owned, gaining a license under this jurisdiction is not a simple task. So, in order to become a gambling operator in Finland, an experienced company Playtech may need to conduct lengthy negotiations with authorities and main pro-government gamers of the industry.