Changes to the Gambling License in Finland

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Currently, the state-owned gambling in Finland Oy operates a total monopoly on all authorised gambling in Finland. This monopoly includes online operations, although the latter are viewed by Finnish law as another distribution channel rather than an independent service in their own right. Throughout the fall of 2022 there have been discussions on the topic of changing this long-term practice, which would require moving to a license model. This issue has been included in the government programme and a preparatory work on preparing a legislative proposal is expected to start this year.

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One of the main goals of the proposed changes is to decrease gambling-related harm and therefore a number of responsible gambling requirements are expected to be introduced. The main requirement is that operators will be obliged to follow strict regulations on processing payments and anti-money laundering. Another requirement is to comply with the list of prohibited responsible gambling advertising, which essentially means that any marketing on foreign sites aimed at Finnish players will be banned.

The reason why a licensing system is being considered is that according to a study conducted in the area, the Finnish state loses significant sums of money each year due to gambling activities outside of the state-owned monopoly. In addition, the monopoly has proved to be ineffective at decreasing gambling problems. In short, the official reason for maintaining this monopoly is that the money will be used to fund social projects in Finland, but critics argue that it’s really just a way of collecting extra taxes from a large portion of the population.

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