Finland in Focus: Is Exclusive Model Working?

As gambling reform progresses in Finland, Finland has occupied the headlines of casino news stories for a while. Prior to 2016, there were three gambling operators in Finland:

Bekaus – Lottery, Sports Betting;
RAY – Casino and Slot Competition Games;
Pinto – horse racing betting.
However, in January 2017, Finland introduced a gambling monopoly, and since then the Finnish GGR has continued to decline. Imports fell from 2 billion euros in 2016 to 1.6 billion euros in 2020. Thus, Finland’s gambling market began to decline before the global pandemic.

With upcoming gambling reforms, Finnish authorities hope to improve their country’s gambling revenue, which is expected to return to 2 billion euros by 2022. Several experts in the casino industry explored the theme of Finland’s gambling monopoly in the webinar “At Intersections: The Future of Finnish Gambling Policy” hosted by EGBA.

Ed Birkin, a senior consultant at H2 Gambling Capital, believes that high channeling rates are a key element of a healthy gambling environment because they show a level of player protection. In Europe, 75% of gambling occurs on land facilities, but 35% of Finnish players go gambling on overseas casino sites, which is very low. 파친코

According to Birkin, low channelization rates are a common characteristic of gambling monopolies (e.g., Finland, Norway). In a liberalized market, product choices for consumers are broadened, and gambling organizations typically spend more on marketing, so the proportion of land gambling will be higher than monopoly at any tax rate. But one of the benefits of monopolies is that they can absorb higher gambling taxes and remain profitable.

Jari Vähänen, co-founder of Finnish gambling consultants, added to the topic, saying the country’s main expectation for Veikkaus is to reduce problem gambling instead of increasing income. One way to do this is to blacklist offshore operators and block payments to those websites. But according to experts, this could result in a much higher percentage of offshore gambling.

When talking about the shortcomings of the Finnish gambling system, Ralph Sims, press manager at Nordics at Kindred Group, cited the lack of recognition for modern technology as a major shortcoming. The expert also added that there are many companies waiting to comply and pay taxes to enter the Finnish market. So, in his opinion, Finland should re-regulate gambling to solve the new reality.

Birgitte Sand, a former director of the Danish Gambling Authority, agrees with Sims, stating that Finland should find a unique approach to gambling regulation. Sand believes that Finnish gambling authorities should follow the positive examples of Britain, Denmark, and Sweden by applying the best of these gambling jurisdictions.

Jari Vähänen believes that political debate over gambling liberalization continues in Finland and that change could be in place by 2026.

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