Finland Frets Over Remote Gambling OperatorsPublished March 14, 2015 by Elana K
Finnish politicians express a growing concern that remote gambling operators are targeting national consumers with no accountability, and that they are taking away money from local operators.
Finnish politicians have expressed concern over remote gambling operators in the country’s gambling market. The main issue is that the current Finnish regulation framework is unequipped to monitor remote gambling operators and to protect Finnish consumers.
As of now, remote gambling operators have free reign over national consumers, and they can target whoever they want and offer whatever they want, with no one to oversee what they are doing. These operators also take away a chunk of revenue from national gambling monopolies Raha-automaattiyhdistys (RAY), Veikkaus and Fintoto, which help raise money for national causes.
Many stakeholders in Finland’s gambling enterprises have encouraged politicians to restrict remote gambling operators that target Finnish consumers and deflect income from national companies.
These stakeholders also point out that even though the promotion of online gambling products is illegal in Finland, remote gambling operators have been able to bypass these laws through a number of methods.
In response to these concerns, Interior Legislative Director Katrrina Laitinen stated that her office will increase monitoring on remote operators. The government will not, however, schedule a review on the matter of remote gambling practices, nor will it punish consumers who choose to wager on foreign operators. At least, not for the time being.
Finland’s Online Gambling Market
YLE.fi, a Finnish news agency, estimates that Finland’s gambling industry generates approximately €1.7 billion a year, making it one of the most profitable target markets for online gambling operators.
Nordic Region Woes
Finland is not the only country in the region suffering from unregulated operators. Both Finnish and Swedish local operators saw declines in revenue in 2014. To regain some control, and some profits, regulators in Sweden and Norway have asked for the review of national gambling laws with the goal of making the current practices more restrictive.
There are certainly precedents for this; just last week, the Swedish gambling authority forced Apple Europe to withdraw online gambling apps from the Swedish IOS store, stating that Apple was breaching national laws. Withdrawn apps included William Hill, Unibet and bet365.