Finland's Slots Model Takes Shape with New Safety RecommendationsPublished November 6, 2020 by Lee R
A new study takes a hard look at proactive measures to reduce the potential for problem gambling in Finland.
A Finnish advertising ban on slots headlines a new list of recommendations.
A new report compiled by a Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health group lists new recommendations for increasing protection of slot players from gambling harm, punctuated by a full ban on slots advertising.
New Licensing Solutions
With Finland's national gambling monopoly Veikkaus still resisting the open licensing model, the new measures address licensing of private operators as a viable consumer protection solution.
The new guidelines come from Finland's Harm Assessment Group, originally formed through the country’s 2001 Lottery Act to recommend measures to minimise gambling problems.
The first set of guidelines focuses on measures to tighten existing controls: a second set of guidelines was written by University of Helsinki researchers Tuulia Lerkkanen and Virve Marionneau as a comparison with other regulated gambling markets.
In terms of the popular slots games in Finland, the report identifies availability and accessibility of slots as the two key factors leading to problem gambling in Finland, which is second only to Denmark in machines per person.
At this point, Veikkaus’ efforts is attempting to get the number of slot machines in operation down to 8,000 by the end of 2020.
To Be Improved
On the other issue, long opening hours are found to be stoking problem gambling in Finland through slots outside of Veikkaus’ venues remaining operational 24 hours a day, with Veikkaus’ Feel Vegas arcades open until 3am.
This stands in stark contrast to other Finnish countries such as Norway, where all machines go offline at midnight; or Denmark, where all gaming halls are shut down at midnight.
Location Limits Needed
The accessibility issue is exacerbated according to the report by the lack of restrictions on location of slot machines in Finland.
Marketing Just Punctuates
The main accessibility solution offered from the report was the blanket ban on slots marketing. The report further calls for risk profile analysis of all machines, accompanied by display of warnings about potential negative effects to customers.
A block of offshore operators will also be required to protect the customers, to complete what looks like a sustainable and safe gambling model for Finland's avid slots players moving forward.