Online gambling in Finland
The Republic of Finland, formerly part of the Kingdom of Sweden and later the Russian Empire, has had a state-controlled gambling monopoly since the Second World War. Despite recent pressure from the European Union and even the start of the internet and online gambling, Finland’s gambling structure has changed little since then – and apparently has no intention of doing so any time soon.
The legal landscape
The first slot machines were introduced to Finland from Germany in the 1920s. Private companies took the opportunity they presented and provoked a government intervention that in 1933 only granted charities to operate these machines. However, disputes continued between the various operations, and in 1938 RAY was short for Raha-automaattiyhdisty, Finland’s Slot Machine Association configuration. His decree gave him the authority not only to monitor gaming machines, but also to manufacture the machines themselves and to provide funds for any health or addiction problems caused by the hobby.
Ray is one of three organizations that form the Finnish government’s monopoly on gambling. The second is Veikkaus Oy, the Finnish national lottery, whose winnings in lottery and other betting activities are spread across various projects that contribute to Finnish art and culture, sports or scientific ventures. The third, Fintoto Oy, is a horse racing-specific parimutuel bet that, like Veikkaus Oy, reinvests the money it earns into Suomen Hippos, a government organization that cares for horses.
There is a separate system for the Finnish province of Aland, a network of around 6,500 islands in the Baltic Sea that falls under Finnish rule. Gambling activities are managed by PAF (Play at Friends), which was founded in 1966 to bring the various Aland organizations under one roof.
What about online casino?
However, with the advent of the Internet and online gambling, RAY and PAF came into competition with each other. PAF started providing online casinos and sports betting in 1999, but the Finnish Gambling Act of 2002 made RAY the only official online gambling provider in the mainland. Because of the better chances of winning and prices, many Finnish Finns avoided RAY and Veikkaus for PAF, which prompted those responsible at RAY to take legal action. However, the government intervened again and decided to operate both organizations simultaneously.
The Finnish government keeps its citizens from gambling outside the country’s borders, but there is no legal framework in which they can prevent or take action against such activities. But even though the gambling profits are geared to good reasons, the EU has tried to push Finland to break its monopoly and label its policies as “protectionist”.
Casino in Finland
Finland is in northeastern Europe, the country shares the border with Russia in the east. Norway is north of the country and Sweden to the west. The side seas of the Baltic Sea, such as the Bothnian and the Gulf of Finland, border Finland in the west and south. Almost 200,000 lakes form the country’s landscape, which is why Finland is also called the “land of a thousand lakes”. Well over 56,000 lakes are at least one hectare in size. The landscape is divided into the Finnish Lake District, the Finnish hills, Lapland and the coastal plains of Southern Finland and Ostrobothnia. Finland is most populated in the south, with most people living in the regions around Helsinki, Tampere and Turku.
The rural areas are popular with visitors to Finland, and a summer house is often rented on one of the many lakes. The coastal regions in the south of the country are attractive, and cities such as Helsinki and Mariehamn also offer numerous sights. At the end of June, many visitors come to Finland for the traditional Midsummer Festival. The winter sports centers Luka, Levi and Ylläs in Lapland are popular tourist destinations in the winter months. The official language is Finnish, but many residents also understand English.
The only two casinos in Finland are located in the south of the country, in Helsinki and Mariehamn. Access is granted to all guests who are at least 18 years old. A passport or ID card is required. Of course, the casinos in Finland should also be entered with neat, elegant clothing. A jacket and a tie are not essential. Classic table games such as roulette, blackjack and poker are offered in the two casinos. In addition, the casinos have modern slot machines in the small game.
Finnish union campaigns for slot machines
The Finnish MaRa (Finnish Hospitality Association) union is committed to maintaining slot machines and current regulation. There is currently discussion in Finland about regulating slot machines in restaurants and petrol stations much more strictly than before. According to MaRa, this would lead to a disproportionate number of economic problems.
Finland wants to regulate new slot machines
Finland slot machines. What does a Finnish union want? Jobs? And what else? Higher wages! But what does a Finnish union really want? Slot machines !? Of course, things are not quite that simple, because even if the Finnish MaRa union is currently working to regulate slot machines maintaining in restaurants and petrol stations is essentially about jobs. MaRa’s position is that stricter regulation would result in many ATMs and the associated sales and profits disappearing. In addition, significantly fewer people would probably play and thus also ensure that the operators of the devices would suffer economic damage. In addition, the Finnish union points out that, of course, companies that build and sell slot machines would also be negatively affected by stricter regulations. But whether MaRa’s protest is enough to prevent the new regulation can at least be doubted. Recent surveys show that the vast majority of political parties in Finland are in favor of to create stricter regulation for slot machines. But what does politics in Finland actually want to do? Why is the MaRa union so outraged? The answer is amazing, especially for German readers.
Finland basically has the idea of making slot machines and other games of chance accessible only to people who identify themselves with an official ID. For example, this is also common in German casinos and is discussed again and again. A simple reason for this is, of course, that there is an age control on the ID. But it would not be necessary for every visitor to request an ID for this reason. Another important reason is that identification by ID can be used to combat money laundering. For example, that’s an important reason why visitors to online casinos often have to show a copy of their ID when they are paid out for the first time. Anyone wishing to use games of chance should in any case be prepared to show an ID. All experience shows that this is very often necessary, at least in Germany, both offline and online. Among other things, casinos can show their ID to check the blacklist. Anyone on this blacklist may not gamble in the casino. There are many good arguments for an ID card scheme, but in Finland it has so far been easy to use the available slot machines in restaurants and petrol stations. This is still possible in many restaurants in Germany. But now Finland wants to outsource the slot machines to its own establishments. But you could also say: Finland wants to have amusement arcades!
Slot machines are very popular in Finland
According to official statistics, there are currently around 2,300 slot machines in Finnish restaurants. Then there are about 800 slots in the country’s petrol stations. This is an impressive number, especially since you have to assume that most restaurants and petrol stations do not have multiple play equipment. The Finns have the opportunity to use slot machines in many places. The proponents of strict regulation naturally argue with player protection. At least that’s an argument that needs to be discussed. But at the moment it is not at all clear how big the problem is with slot machines in petrol stations and restaurants. According to MaRa, only a very small number of users of these devices experience difficulties. Most gambling fans use the devices to have a little fun and distraction on a hard day’s work. From a German perspective, one would assume that arcades are more problematic than the slot machines that hang in restaurants and petrol stations. After all, in such facilities there is also something like social control and other entertainment options besides gambling. But perhaps the Finns will also have to build numerous amusement arcades in order to find out in a few years that reorganizing amusement arcades is a good idea. After all, in such facilities there is also something like social control and other entertainment options besides gambling. But perhaps the Finns will also have to build numerous amusement arcades in order to find out in a few years that reorganizing amusement arcades is a good idea. After all, in such facilities there is also something like social control and other entertainment options besides gambling. But perhaps the Finns will also have to build numerous amusement arcades in order to find out in a few years that reorganizing amusement arcades is a good idea.
It is almost impossible that stricter regulation in Finland would reduce gaming revenue. The most likely result: sales will shift somewhat. If there were actually more arcades in Finland, gambling fans would go to the arcades. Classic casinos can also be an alternative. Of course there are countless online casinos where gambling fans can have fun around the clock. And of course, online casino visitors must also show their ID. But in case of doubt, this is still much more pleasant and uncomplicated than the ID check in an arcade. In Austria there are now even slot machines where customers have to show their ID directly at the machine. There are many opportunities, Gambling fans spoil the fun. But so far, no country with regulation has succeeded in significantly reducing the need for gambling. Ever since the invention of the Internet, it has been a Sisyphean task to implement strict regulations. Because what do gambling fans do, who are strictly regulated when playing offline: move to the Internet!
MaRa wants sensible regulation of slot machines
The arguments of the Finnish MaRa union are worth considering. In particular, it is pointed out that the local economy could suffer considerably if the slot machines in restaurants and petrol stations no longer generate the usual sales. But in the end, of course, that cannot be the only argument that goes into regulation. Player protection is a relevant issue and, of course, the interests of the general public must also be protected. But there are many ways to implement sensible regulation that doesn’t spoil the fun of gaming for gamers. If there were machines in Finland, for example, where players would have to identify themselves with an identity card, that would be a sensible solution. Then the machines could stay at the previous locations,
One could also create a national blacklist, similar to that in Sweden, which all gambling providers must adhere to. That would probably not be technically easy with the classic slot machines. But Sweden is having a very good experience right nowwith a national blacklist, on which all gambling fans in the country can register. Anyone on this list can no longer play in an online casino. Why shouldn’t something like this also work with Finnish slot machines? That would probably be a much better contribution to player protection than regulation that only ensures that the operators of the restaurants and petrol stations have less income. But when it goes as in Germany, at the end of regulation will come out, harms the many small businesses and player protection not particularly improved, but but many gambling fans drives the Internet.