The Finnish people might not be aware, but their home country’s gambling sector is going through incredible transformation and growth. Their unique approach was so successful, other nations are starting to look at it as a model to follow.
Believe it or not, Finland’s state-led gambling sector is incredibly successful. This comes as a surprise on the day and age where economists disregard nationalized industries completely. Thankfully, Veikkaus was able to create a different, popular, efficient and socially responsible role through their gambling enterprises.
And Finns are helping the model grow exponentially due to their eagerness to gamble. Finland’s gambling state monopoly -consisting of three different enterprises: Veikkaus, Fintoto, and RAY- generates around 3.2 billion euros in yearly revenues. 340 million euros of that sum came from the national lottery last year.
Both responsibility and social duty play a huge role in gambling down in Finland. In their national gambling places, stakes are limited. And part of the revenue is used for good causes, like charity, letting the gambling sector become more helpful to their nation, something that does not happen in other countries. One example of this is found in The Helsinki Casino where they state on their website that their “revenue goes to charity”, something unique in the gambling world.
This completely contrasts the negative take people from Britain have on gambling. Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals have generated immeasurable losses for the players. In response to this scenario, British authorities have responded with knee-jerk legislation, leading to conflict.
Uniting the real-world venues with the online casino market.
It is hard to open a physical casino in Finland. Even for big agencies such as Veikkaus, which has 16 locations. This number seems small in comparison to the United Kingdom’s 140 gambling venues, where there are 24 in London alone. This would make you assume there is little to no interest in slots down in Finland. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Veikkaus doesn’t handle 16 physical venues alone. They also participate in the online casino business, a thriving scene to be in. Most online casinos are not Finnish-based, they are based overseas, like the ones coming from Malta. But they do offer a Finnish website and Finnish customer service. For common people, these online casinos are Finnish, even though they are registered in another country.
Even though Malta is the main country in the online casino scene, there are several operators based in EU countries. Down in that Mediterranean island, there are hundreds of Finns creating Finnish related content to help the companies or the players involved in gambling.
It is a new, uncommon scenario: the EU has allowed multinational markets to coexist with Finnish state-led enterprises. But how does this scenario impact Finnish gambling? Could this new type of relationship between countries and their businesses be fruitful? Or will they last too little, as it happened in Sweden? The Swedish government tried something similar with state-led gambling and eventually lifted the monopoly in early 2019.
The future in Finland’s gambling sector.
One thing you need to keep in mind about this is that even though online gambling is a state monopoly in Finland, hundreds upon hundreds of non-Finnish online casinos operate in Finland as well thanks to the EU competition laws.
And that’s the main issue regarding online casinos in Finland right now. A balance needs to be found where the monopoly model needs to be reformed while they keep their good features -such as physical casinos, charity work, and strong licenses- as they avoid total prohibition or liberation.
Online casino supporters show optimism, but they are aware of other issues as well. Finland’s National Institute of Health and Welfare (THI) reported challenging information regarding gambling addiction. Perhaps, a good strategy from both the Finnish government and online casino operators could stop these problems altogether. Finland’s neighboring country, Sweden, uses a national register where citizens can block themselves from all gambling sites to help their situation.
There are over 100.000 people with gambling issues in Finland. The latest statistics show men playing less, but show women are starting to get more involved in the gambling scene. Most gamblers right now play via online casinos, and Finns have lost over 300 million Euro to foreign online casinos last year alone.
Finland’s government isn’t known for letting their people suffer. Quick action to help addicts is expected from the authorities. The online casino community may be able to work with the state to come up with an efficient solution that helps everyone.
We may see a completely new national model as a result – new dynamic online casinos operating responsibly but still entertaining their core audience. One that takes society and their members seriously. If there’s somewhere where this can be achieved, it’s most definitely Finland.