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The monopoly arrangements in Finland’s gambling sector could come to an end according to a draft proposal that has been submitted to the country’s government. 

At the heart of the proposal is the modernisation of the gambling sector in the region as it looks to bring to a close some of the significant exclusivity in the market. 

Though the proposal calls for Veikkaus Oy to be removed from the online gambling market, the monopoly will retain exclusive rights to operate lotteries, racing pools, totalisator bets, physical slot machines and arcade games.

Regulatory changes are required as Veikkaus Oy will end its existing monopoly contract by the end of 2026, for which the Ministry of the Interior has opened its consultation, seeking feedback until 18 August 2024. 

Furthermore, the new Gambling Act is also looking to increase social responsibility gambling-related harms by increasing consumer channelling to a regulated market.

This comes in response to previous accounts that detailed key warnings to Finnish ministers over the national consumers which were wagering a minimum of €500m a year with unlicensed operators.

It was laid out that online operators will place a central focus on the introduction of a licensing system for online operators, allowing foreign and domestic businesses to apply for licences granted by the Finnish Supervisory Agency. 

The Ministry of Finance has been instructed to draft plans to establish a new supervisory authority to oversee gambling activities with broad powers to impose administrative sanctions and penalties. 

The authority will replace Finland’s National Police Board supervision of gambling and will address unlawful activities by imposing administrative sanctions and be empowered to prohibit the running and marketing of gambling games, as well as to rescind licences and reinforce official decisions with a penalty payment.

Further protections have called on the government to develop an IT network barring and payment blocking to restrict unlicensed gambling activities and exposure to the black market. 

The proposal calls for Finland to tighten its gambling compliance with new laws on customer registration, identity verification, and age limits for gamblers. New customer protections will be overseen by the launch of a centralised player registry for customer self-exclusion across all licensed operators, a measure needed to enhance consumer protection and reduce gambling-related harm.