Overview of Online Casino Industry in Finland
When we talk about online gambling in Scandinavian countries, the rules are basically all the same. The Finnish government supports the complete monopoly on the gambling market even though it’s often being criticized by various European institutions. The EU has continually warned Finland about possible measures that can be taken unless they provide the free market opportunities but it doesn’t seem that Finland really cares.
The whole gambling process in the country is strictly controlled by 4 main organizations:
- RAY is controlling all the land-based casinos in Finland;
- Veikkaus Oy is controlling lotteries, sports betting and some other games;
- Fintoto Oy is controlling the horse races;
- PAF is controlling gambling in Aland Province.
At the same time, the RAY and the PAF both have control over the online gambling in Finland. No other gambling operators can get the country’s license for online or offline gambling. Moreover, foreign online casinos are not allowed to the country too. But, in fact, gamblers from Finland are still making their real money bets in many foreign casinos, including the most popular ones like 888 casino or Leo Vegas and there are no legal means to stop them.
Despite the governmental control and unfavorable conditions, people in Finland love to gamble and offline casinos are usually full of people. There are quite a lot of poker players in the country and there is even a special poker tournament held yearly. Another popular gambling option (both offline and online) is sports betting. Unlike other European countries, where people are mostly betting on football or horse racing, here the priority is taken by Pesäpallo, the national sport of Finland.
It’s hard to say whether the government monopoly on gambling is a good thing or not. On the one hand, the strict rules run contrary to the European legislation but on the other hand, the money that the government gets from gambling are spent on the sports, art, cultural and scientific projects. And as long as Finnish gamblers have access to the foreign online casinos, it doesn’t really matter who owns the offline slots and sports betting systems in the country.