Is Online Gambling Allowed in Finland?
Online gambling is perhaps one of the most popular forms of entertainment around the world. And the situation is no different in Finland. The Finns, in particular, are fond of gambling and this is evident as the nation is among the top gambling hubs in the world.
The Finnish authorities have always had a strong grip on the gambling market although the shackles have only begun loosening. Online gambling is one of the most lucrative industries in the country and the state’s monopoly provides the exchequer with a steady revenue stream.
Despite its limited population, Finland is the fifth-largest gambling market in the world, which is why most of the big brands are vying for a piece of the pie. Unfortunately, attempts of privatisation have been futile to date, although, things are slowly looking up.
The Current State of Affairs
The European Commission requested the Finnish authorities to modernize the gambling regulations as per the EU norms back in 2010. Although certain changes have been made, the industry largely remains the same. While gambling is 100% legal, the regulations can be tricky.
For starters, the state has a monopoly over all wagering activities. Gambling was traditionally monitored by state-sponsored companies. The three firms monitored casino games, sports betting, lottery, keno, and bingo between themselves. However, starting 2019, private casinos were allowed to offer casino games and sports betting, although, the operators remain under strict supervision.
According to statistics, the Finns wagered around EUR 10 billion last year, with EUR 2.2 billion on sports betting alone. This is a steady source of revenue for the authorities. Hence, the government is unlikely to give up total control over the industry anytime soon.
While the Finnish government might have a strict policy on allowing private players in the industry, most of the regulated online casinos accept Finnish players. Moreover, the authorities haven’t yet taken a steady stance against casinos hosted outside Finland. Thus, opening up a lucrative market for foreign operations.
Is Offshore Gambling Legal in Finland?
While the Finnish government has strict rules to protect its citizens against unlawful gambling practices, there is a grey area where offshore casinos thrive. Most of these platforms are hosted in the European Union and are licensed either by the UKGC or MGA. Hence, these are safe for Finnish punters, albeit illegal.
This has led to a steady rise in the Finnish iGaming industry. And while the government can ban such websites, they’re yet to take action. So, the short answer is offshore gambling is illegal in Finland, and players must be very careful about signing up on such platforms. However, there are reliable international casinos that accept Finnish players. Players are advised to exercise extreme caution while shortlisting online casinos.
Moreover, gambling income is tax-free in Finland. While land-based casinos are taxed 8.25%, players don’t have to share a part of the winning sum with the government. This is one of the crucial factors behind Finland’s booming iGaming market.
To stop Finns from signing up for offshore platforms, the government must modernize the rulebook and open up to the changing demands of the industry. Licensing foreign operators, updating the gaming portfolio of state-owned casinos, and offering better bonuses are a few steps in the right direction. If you’re looking for more info about gambling in Finland, read more on Veikkaajat.
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