Finland Gambling Reform: Government Paves the Way for Regulated Market by 2026

Finland gambling reform is on the horizon – in a significant move, Finland’s government has unveiled its plans to transform the country’s gambling landscape, paving the way for a regulated market by 2026.

End of Veikkaus Monopoly

The Ministry of the Interior has initiated a legislative project aimed at overhauling Finland’s gambling system. One of the most notable changes is the impending end of the state-owned Veikkaus’ gaming monopoly. Instead, private companies will operate under a new gambling licensing model.

The government’s Pursuit of Reform

This legislative program marks a significant step towards achieving the reform that the Orpo government has been advocating since the general election in April 2023. A preliminary analysis of the gambling industry and competing models, completed in April, informs the government’s strategy.

Finland Gambling Reform: What to Expect of in the Coming Years

Over the next two years, the government will develop legislative proposals to revamp the gambling system. These proposals will encompass various aspects, including the games covered by the licensing system, licensing fees, taxation, and tools for managing gambling.

Addressing Gambling-Related Issues

Additional regulations will be put in place to tackle gambling-related harm and to control and oversee the marketing of gambling activities, as this will constitute one of the most significant elements of the Finland gambling reform.

Collaboration for Reform

To facilitate this extensive reform, the government has established a political steering group and an intersectoral working group, which includes key ministries and authorities. The project will also seek input from experts in various fields, according to the first news and estimates relating to the very much anticipated Finland gambling reform project.

Timeline and Objectives

The Ministry aims to submit a proposal on the reform to parliament in the spring of 2025, with the project set to conclude on December 31, 2025. The government’s primary objective is to boost Finland gambling reform project and the channelization rate, which currently lags behind peer countries.

A ministry spokesperson emphasized, “The aim of the reform is to prevent and reduce the harm resulting from gambling and to improve the channeling rate of the gambling system in accordance with the government program.”

Two Pathways Forward

The preliminary study revealed that gambling outside the monopoly system has been on the rise and contributes to significant gambling-related harm. Two options were presented for reforming the gambling system: strengthening the existing gambling monopoly system or transitioning to a licensing model for online casino games and online betting.

End of Veikkaus’ Monopoly

The government’s choice is to end Veikkaus’ monopoly on online casino games and online betting while retaining its monopoly status on lotteries and retail slot machines. Under the government program, the activities in the competitive market and those remaining with Veikkaus will be separated into different companies within the same group.

Emphasizing Social Impact

The project will also explore the possibility of relocating gaming machines to controlled areas, as stipulated in the government program. The aim is to strengthen supervision of the gambling industry within the new licensing system, with a particular focus on mitigating the social impact of the changes, especially in terms of gambling-related harm.

Veikkaus’ Preparations

Earlier this year, Veikkaus announced its expectations to reduce jobs and close gaming arcades in anticipation of the end of the country’s gambling monopoly. The restructuring efforts may lead to the loss of approximately 240 jobs, and Veikkaus plans to decrease its gaming venues from 65 to between 40 and 50.

This comprehensive reform of Finland’s gambling landscape reflects the government’s commitment to modernizing its approach to gambling while addressing potential issues related to gambling harm and competition in the industry. Finland’s journey toward a regulated gambling market by 2026 is set to reshape its gaming landscape significantly.

A Transformative Era for Finland’s Gambling Industry on the Horizon?

The Finland gambling reform project and the country’s ambitious legislative project signifies a turning point for its gambling industry, setting the stage for a regulated market by 2026. The end of Veikkaus’ long-standing monopoly and the introduction of a licensing model for private operators represent a seismic shift in the country’s approach to gambling. With a strong emphasis on mitigating gambling-related harm and enhancing oversight, Finland’s government is determined to create a safer and more competitive gambling landscape.

As the reform progresses over the coming years, all eyes will be on Finland’s journey toward a more modern and accountable gambling market, in line with other Nordic markets.

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