Finland Commits to Ending Gambling Monopoly by 2026, Introduces Licensing Model

Published June 25, 2023 by OCR Editor

Finland Commits to Ending Gambling Monopoly by 2026, Introduces Licensing Model

Finland is set to revolutionize its gambling industry as the newly formed government announces plans to dismantle the current monopoly system. By implementing a licensing model by 2026, Finland aims to mitigate the negative impacts of gambling while improving regulatory control and promoting fair competition.

As reported earlier this month by iGB News, in a significant development, the Finnish government has declared its commitment to replace the current gambling monopoly system with a licensing model by 2026. This decision follows concerns regarding the negative impact of gambling and the low channelization rate to legal offerings. The proposed licensing system will encompass online casino games and sports betting while restructuring Veikkaus, the state-owned gaming monopoly.

By dividing Veikkaus into separate entities within the same group, the Finnish government aims to reverse the 2017 merger involving Veikkaus, Raha-automaattiyhdistys (slot business), and Fintoto (horse race betting operator). The government has acknowledged that the existing gambling policy has not been effective, citing the persisting issue of problem gambling and the low channelization rate to the regulated market, which currently stands at around 50%.

The government believes that the licensing model will provide enhanced regulation and control. It plans to empower the regulator with sufficient resources while implementing measures to combat money laundering and safeguard sports integrity. Furthermore, Finland intends to establish a single self-exclusion platform for all gambling portals and regulate marketing practices to ensure moderation, responsibility, and reduced frequency.

The government emphasizes that introducing the licensing model requires careful examination of the social effects, particularly its impact on gambling problems. Reacting to this announcement, the Finnish online gambling trade association, Rahapeliala, expressed satisfaction with the government's recognition of the need for a modernized gambling system. Rahapeliala CEO Mika Kuismanen stated that this reform promotes fair competition, protects societal interests, and exhibits responsible structural changes.

This policy program by the newly formed government comes after months of negotiations following the April elections. Led by Petteri Orpo, the National Coalition Party, the right-leaning government consists of the Swedish People's Party, the Christian Democrats, and the anti-immigration Finns Party. The decision to transition from the monopoly system to a licensing model aligns with the findings of an April government study, which recommended reforms based on a comparison with peer countries. The government and opposition recognized the need for change in the monopoly system.

Finland's commitment to ending the gambling monopoly and embracing a licensing model reflects a progressive approach to addressing societal concerns while adapting to evolving technological realities. This transformation underscores the government's determination to implement economically and socially responsible changes in the gambling sector.

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