Finland gambling reform project to assess licensing model switch

Finland map
Image: Shutterstock

Finland’s government has created a legislative project to reform its current gambling market, moving away from the monopoly system.

The Ministry of Interior has announced the set-up of the project that will prepare for the introduction of a licensing system for gambling, in accordance with the government programme.

According to the programme, the licence system will cover online casino and online sports betting, as well as strip state-owned Veikkaus of its exclusive right to offer gambling in the country.

The reform project also follows an investigation into the current gambling system back in April, as well as what other alternative models are out there to give the government a full set of options for what direction Finland’s gambling system should go in.

Rapporteurs stated that ‘gambling outside the monopoly system has increased and causes significant gambling-related harm’, which has resulted in them recommending two options to develop the system – strengthen the current monopoly system or switch to a licensing model.

The Ministry of Interior noted that the reform aims to help ‘prevent and reduce the harm resulting from gambling and to improve the channelling rate of the gambling system’, which is the number of wagers placed with regulated providers that hold a local licence.

Within the reform project, the necessary legislative proposals will be drawn up such as games covered, licence fees, taxation, gambling management tools and other prevention of gambling-related harm, and the control and marketing of gambling activities.

The government programme also stated that the monopoly activities remaining with Veikkaus and the activities in the competitive market will be separated into different companies within the same group.

Running until December 31, 2025, the project will also investigate the transfer of game machines to separate controlled areas, as well as pinpoint how to strengthen supervision when entering a licence model, taking into account the social impacts including the impacts on gambling-related harm. 

A political steering group and an intersectoral working group with key ministries and authorities have been set up for the project, and experts from different sectors will also be consulted.

Utilising the reform project, the government added that a proposal on the future of gambling is expected to be submitted to Finland’s Parliament in the spring of 2025.