Gambling reforms approved by Finnish parliament at first reading

The Finnish parliament (Suomen eduskunta) has approved the country's Lottery Act in its first reading, tightening controls for offshore operators and providing additional protections for Veikkaus' monopoly.

The Finnish parliament (Suomen eduskunta) has approved the country's Lottery Act in its first reading, tightening controls for offshore operators and providing additional protections for Veikkaus' monopoly.

Payment blocking for all operators other than the monopoly Veikkaus is one of the act's reforms.

Mandatory identification, which was first implemented in Veikkaus slots earlier this year, will now be extended to all forms of gambling. This is expected to be implemented by 2024.


The revised Lottery Act would also change marketing regulations. Advertising of particularly harmful gambling games, such as slot machines, would be prohibited.


The payment-blocking provisions, on the other hand, sparked debate, with Finland's Constitutional Committee claiming that this part of the bill was unconstitutional.


Meanwhile, the Administrative Committee argued that the bill should have included a probe into the monopoly system, which it described as "practically broken."

Payment blocking should only be used for payments to operators, not for player transactions, according to the committee. It also proposed transferring Veikkaus' state contribution to Finland's general budget pool rather than allocating it to specific causes.


The bill was approved on first reading after these amendments. It must now be approved in the second reading before being sent to the president of the country to become law.


The bill was widely panned by Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). Despite consumers looking for other options, he criticized payment blocking as an attempt to maintain Veikkaus' monopoly.


"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," he said. "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 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.”

Source : fLEXI tEAM