Exploring the Rise of Finland’s Online Casino Industry

When exploring the booming and wildly popular online casino industry in Finland, it’s important to take it all in, including the brick-and-mortar locations that truly did start the entire casino age in the country.

While there are only 16 actual casinos that operate in the country, that seems to be all it took to birth an industry that has moved from in-person establishments to online options that excel in convenience and variety.

Finns Are Known for Their Quest for Happiness

Each year, the United Nations conducts a study and releases a report titled the World Happiness Report. In this report, it ranks 156 countries to determine which is the happiest. Finland has notoriously found its way to the top of the list, and in 2020 it was number one again – for the third year in a row. 

And while a lot goes into a country ranking as number one, for Finns it is clear that they have a zest for living and they don’t mind going after what makes them happy. And part of what makes them happy is finding those activities that allow them to unwind, relax, and be entertained – all of which online gambling seems to tick off the list.

In fact, gambling in general has become so woven into the fabric that is Finland, that is has become one of the biggest consumers of the entertainment offering in all of Europe. It is estimated that on average, a typical Finn will spend EUR 14 per week on some sort of gaming activity. This works out to about EUR 2 billion each year that is spent on casino games. 

Online Casinos Don’t Have Those Same Limitations

While the real-life casinos still have their place in the country, and still draw in patrons, the fact is that they have limitations. Finns are required to travel to them in person, and for many, that’s neither convenient or desirable.

When online gaming was introduced, it gave people an alternative that made good logical sense. Not only did it mean people didn’t have to drive anywhere, but it opened up gambling to a whole new mass of people that had never really shown much interest before.

Online casinos simply don’t have the limitations that real life casinos have. And it’s not just the fact they exist online so they are convenient; there is a space factor too. A real-life casino is limited by space, and they can only fit so many slot machines and table games into the space.

With online casinos, there is no such thing as space limitations, allowing the various casinos to constantly update their offerings and keep things fresh.

As nopeampi, an online casino available in Finland, clearly demonstrates, people are given what can feel like endless options. The real-life casinos simply can’t compete with this offering.

How the Regulations Work

But what about the laws and regulations concerning casinos in Finland? The way it stands right now, nation-based operators are the only ones that can offer their gaming services to Finns. What this means is that no foreign operator can open up a casino.

Now, here’s what makes the industry really interesting – in 2017, three different betting agencies merged and became Veikkaus Oy. One of the main goals of this agency is to not just run the gambling industry, but to re-distribute the profits. The result is about 53% of profits being distributed to the Ministry of Education and Culture, 43% is given to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and then 4% is given to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Because that money is being redistributed back into the system, and in fact benefiting people, it is almost seen as a “patriotic duty” to engage in gambling. It can be argued that by gambling, a person is helping the greater good of the country. It takes away the guilt that people can sometimes feel when they are spending their money on entertainment.

All you have to do is look at the numbers that Veikkaus has reported – the 10% increase in digital gambling in the year 2018, and the fact that it is embracing change and will be relying even more on online gambling, all shows that they are in it for the long haul, as are the Finns.

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