EGBA backs Finland’s gambling reform licensing system project

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The European Gaming and Betting Association has approved the “crucial milestone” of the Finnish government’s decision to create a legislative project to reform the nation’s gambling framework.

Earlier this week, Finland’s Ministry of Interior announced the project that will prepare for the introduction of a licensing system for gambling.

According to the programme, the licence system will cover online casino and online sports betting, as well as strip state-owned Veikkaus of its current monopoly of the market.

The EGBA has welcomed the announcement describing it as a “crucial milestone in addressing the shortcomings of Finland’s outdated monopoly framework for online gambling’”.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA, commented: “This is a welcome step towards meaningful and overdue gambling reform in Finland. 

“The introduction of multi-licensing would provide greater choice and safeguards to Finnish consumers, ensure fairer competition between operators, and enable the Finnish authorities to have greater control over their online gambling market.”

Necessary legislative proposals will be drawn up within the reform project, tackling issues 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 monopoly activities remaining with Veikkaus and the activities in the competitive market will also be separated into different companies within the same group.

The project will look into the transfer of game machines to separate controlled areas and identify how to strengthen supervision when entering a licence model, taking into account the social impacts including the impacts on gambling-related harm.

Running until December 31, 2025, the project aims to conclude with a legislative proposal to Finland’s Parliament in the spring of 2025, mid-way through the current parliamentary cycle. 

EGBA supports Finland’s proposal for moving to a licensing system, as it will “enhance player protection, increase tax revenues for the Finnish state, create a level playing field for operators in terms of compliance requirements and enable more effective oversight of Finland’s online gambling market”.

Haijer continued: “With these changes in the Finnish legislation, all member states of the EU will now have some form of licensing regime for online gambling. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the Finnish Government and local stakeholders as the regulatory discussions develop.”

Last month, the EGBA encouraged Norway to introduce a licensing model for online gambling and move away from its monopoly system to match its European neighbours.