It was even banned once for being a morally corrupt act, but it has not slowed Finns down. Today they use the most money for gambling per year than any other European country. Also, approximately all Finns are acquainted with gambling for real money in some way. You can find slots machines from almost all bigger markets, restaurants and shopping malls. Also, scratch cards and all sorts of lotteries are very familiar ways to entertain yourself in Finland.
In the past ten years, the nature of gambling has changed and online gambling has become more popular. Besides that Finns have become experts in playing all types of casino games and also doing sports betting. These days, you can easily find dozens of Finnish websites that give you valuable information and tips on online casinos and betting, such as Kasinohai.
Finnish Gambling and Betting in Numbers
Every 4 years, the Finnish government does broad research about Finnish gambling to determine its current state and the nations attitudes towards gambling but especially the state of problem gamblers. It is conducted among Finns aged 15-74 years. The latest report is from 2019. It indicates the following:
- Over 78 % of Finns have played at least one type of gamble during the previous 12 months: 72 % of all women and 84 % of all men.
- Almost third gambles once or more in a week.
- The most favourite gambles are lotteries, scratch cards and slot machines (outside casinos).
- Online gambling is on the rise: over 36 % say they gamble or have gambled online. The change from the previous research was 13 percentage points more than previously.
- With online gambling on a steep rise, also the percentage of people gambling on foreign-registered online gambling sites has changed from the previous 3 % to the current 5 %.
- 2,5 % of all gamblers are using over half of the whole Finlands gambling budget on gambling.
Problematic and Risky Gambling Is Decreasing
The good news is that gambling on a risk level has decreased from 15 % in 2015 to only 10,7 % in 2019. Also, the amount of problematic gambling has gone down slightly from 2,0 % to 1,6 %. This is mostly due to the government's active involvement and endorsement of preventing problematic gambling from developing in the first place. Also, problem gamblers are being treated free of charge by multiple organizations.
Finland is Favoring a Monopoly System in Gambling
Since 1940, the Finlands gambling market has been operated by a state-owned company called Veikkaus. Until 2017, it focused only on lotteries and betting but next to it horse races were under Fintoto Oy and casino, slot machines and other gambling were under RAY. They merged into one company in 2017, meaning that since then, all gambling and betting activities on mainland Finland and online are organized, marketed and operated by Veikkaus.
The monopoly system means that no foreign gambling company can register itself or organize gambling activities within the Finnish borders. In the meanwhile, Finns still can legally gamble on betting and casino websites registered outside Finland. Especially EU-based sites have become very popular among Finnish players. The current law even indicates that payouts and withdrawals from such EU-based gambling sites are also tax-free.
The reasons why Finns are flocking the foreign sites are better game variety, better betting odds and bonuses which are not available on the national Veikkaus website. Also, there has been a widespread notion that the slots and table games presented on Veikkaus’s website have a much lower return to player (RTP) than foreign sites meaning players would be losing more money while gambling.
Finland is Trying to Find Other Ways to Get Control
The rising popularity of foreign gambling sites has alarmed the Finnish government and they are planning to pose a ban on bank transfers to all foreign sites. If the law is endorsed, Finns would not be able to transfer money from their bank accounts to other online gambling sites than Veikkaus. The reasoning behind this act is believed the ban would make it easier for the government to control how much money is used in gambling in total.
Also, to prevent problem gamblers from gambling on unauthorized websites that can’t be overseen. It is undoubtedly debatable whether such a ban is a good idea or not. Especially, when in the current online world it is very difficult to take control of all gambling activity because bans can always be broken. There could also be other solutions to this matters such as a licensing system other Nordic countries have chosen.