While there are many examples of how to create and maintain an effective online gambling licensing system across the globe Finland remains one of the last first-world countries to be resistant to its adoption.
The governments dogged determination to cling to an outdated gambling monopoly has proven to be a disaster with the Finnish national gambling agency Veikkaus risking the loss of 1000 employees due to financial challenges and this while other markets have seen a dramatic increase in revenues which benefits the local economy and supports necessary government projects.
Finland Fumbles the Ball, Again
The Finnish parliament had the perfect opportunity to address the failing gambling monopoly on December 14th, however, they opted to reinforce the ailing system once again.
Rather than vote for a revision of the gambling act parliament approved a bill that will put pressure on local payment service providers (PSP) to block offshore gambling banking transactions. The ruling will come into play on January 1st, 2022 and will mean that while offshore casinos can pay money to Finnish banks, these same recipient banks may not send money to any non-Finnish online casino.
Maarten Haijer of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) said:
“The introduction of PSP blockings is an implicit admission that many of Finland’s gamblers prefer to bet on other websites rather than that of the state-run monopoly. There are many reasons why they do so: the availability of better betting odds, and better diversity and expertise in the products offered, are to name a few."
In an open letter regarding this missed opportunity, Haijer points out how this was the time to right the country’s financial situation by ensuring increased channelisation and diverting Finnish revenues back into the country.
He went on to address the fact that the country is only spiting itself by trusting in Veikkaus as EGBA member casinos and betting sites would “welcome the opportunity to apply for a license, be regulated, and pay taxes in Finland”.
No Faith In Veikkaus
It has long been the position of many locals that online gambling regulation in Finland needs to be completely revised to follow in the footsteps of Denmark and Sweden who have both proven to be pro-business while also protecting their people.
In this regard Haijer said:
"In the online world, consumers vote with their feet and that is why we will continue to encourage the government to rethink, rather than reinforce, the country’s online gambling monopoly model and advocate for the benefits of establishing a well-regulated, multi-licensing model for online gambling in Finland.”
Just over a year ago, a poll into the public trust in Veikkaus showed a marked decrease in key areas, with 40% of the participants voting that Veikkaus should lose its monopoly, and a further 30% voting in favour of an open market licensing program.
The same questions the year prior had come back with less than 30% for both questions. This shows how dramatically public trust in the gambling authority had declined in less than twelve months.