Online gambling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment for people all over the world. The Finnish in particular are people who love to gamble. It has been shown that Finnish people can bet up to €10 billion on lottery tickets, slot machines, and sports betting each year.
The Republic of Finland has always had a government-controlled gambling monopoly and despite all the recent developments in the industry, it seems that it is bound to stay that way. Online gambling has become one of the biggest sources of income over the last few years. Finland is also classified as the fifth largest gambling nation in the world which is why most foreign operators are trying to get into the Finnish gambling market. Unfortunately, it seems as if that won’t be an option now or in the near future.
In 2010, the European Commission requested that Finland must implement changes to their gambling regulations that would make it more compliant with the EU laws. Despite the pressure from the European Union, Finland’s gambling structure remains mostly unchanged. While gambling in Finland is 100% legal the gambling regulations are a little more complex. Interestingly enough, during a recent report done by the Finnish media outlet, Yle, statistics showed that 66% of older Finnish residents who were interviewed prefer the Monopoly Regime.
The Three for One Structure
The state has a monopoly over all forms of gambling whether it is online or offline. All gambling operations have always been managed by three state-run companies. RAY had always been in control of table games and slot machines offerings in Finland. National Lottery, sports betting and instant win games were controlled and regulated by Veikkaus Oy and all horse racing betting was regulated by Fintoto. These three entities were again regulated and controlled by the state and all profits made from gambling are put back into the country whether it is through arts, science, sports or education. Earlier in 2017, these three entities merged to become one state-run monopoly named Veikkaus.
The Blooming Finnish Gambling Market
According to the statistics, it shows that Finns bet more than €10 billion on various gambling products. Finnish players have been placed among the biggest gamblers according to a gambling chart by H2 Gambling Capital.
Last year alone the Finns spent a total of roughly $2.2 billion on gambling activities.
Research also shows that Finns adore online gambling and gaming machines.
With the statistics proving that gambling is high in demand it would seem like the obvious choice for the Finnish Government to open their market to international operations. At least, that’s what most other countries with promising gambling markets have done. The Finns, however, have a different approach and like to keep things in the house much to the frustration of the European Commission.
The Finnish Government might be strict on international operators advertising in the country but there are plenty of foreign sites who allow Finnish citizens access to their games and offerings. Ultimately it would be wise of Finland to change its gambling regulations and allow foreign operators’ access to their citizens. The country’s gambling market can become even more lucrative with the addition of international operators.
Not only will the country be able to control which sites gain access to their citizens but they will also be able to protect their players from potentially harmful and scam sites. It seems the idea of making money out of international operators isn’t quite as appealing as complete control over the market. At some point, they might have to reconsider their stance to protect their players and keep them on the straight and narrow to ensure responsible gambling.
Tax and Your Winnings
Gambling has been a part of history in Finland since the 17th Century and while it was banned for a short while in 1899 by the penal code, it became legal again in 1917 when the country gained independence. Ever since then players have been able to enjoy gambling online and at the countries land-based casino, Casino Helsinki, that is located in the country’s capital of Helsinki. Players are extremely eager to participate in this form of entertainment both online and off but there are some concerns regarding the taxes.
The country requires that all operators of casinos pay 8.25% tax on all their net profits but players won’t be taxed. That means that you can play at any of the legal online casinos or the land-based casinos, knowing that when you strike that big win you get to take it all home.
Is Offshore Gambling Illegal?
The Finnish Government has strict control and gambling regulations in place to protect not just themselves but also their citizens. It seems the rules have been set in place to guide players and help them stick to responsible gambling.
The online casino industry has seen rapid growth with new online casinos popping up daily. And while the Finnish might legally gamble at any of the state-owned operations, there is uncertainty regarding the consequences of partaking in online gambling from a foreign operator. Of course, there are Finns who completely disregard the rules and regulations because there are better offerings and games that can be found at some of the offshore casinos than at a Finnish Casino. Others, however, are treading lightly and unsure of whether they should step foot into the hundreds of offshore online casinos available.
For now, players can indulge in online gambling activities on foreign sites without having to worry about getting into trouble with the Government. While there are strict laws that prevent international gambling sites from advertising in Finland there are absolutely no laws that prevent Finnish players from partaking in gambling at international online casino sites. Payment transactions and IP addresses are not being monitored or blocked which gives you easy access to sites outside of Finland.
It would be wise to check out our Top List of Casinos for Finland before jumping into anything too quick. Some sites out there are not safe and will scam you out of your money and you’ll be without the protection of the Government. It’s always important to go do your research before signing up at any online casino.