Finland’s Online Gambling Market Set to Expand
Finland is one of the few European nations that still operates an online gambling monopoly. The state-run Veikkaus is the only company operating in the country that provides sports betting odds and casino games. This monopoly is remaining in place, yet Finland’s online gambling market is finally set to expand.
It’s great news for this nation well-known for its huge gambling fan base. Today, we’re looking into how this market is expanding. We will also be explaining what this means for Finland’s online gambling industry moving forward.
Gambling Industry in Finland Still Dominated by Veikkaus
It’s rare nowadays to see a major European country with such a closed-off internet gambling market. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is in Finland. For many years, three government-operated gambling companies were offered here to players. In 2017, these three companies joined under the new name, Veikkaus.
The fact that Finland operates a monopoly doesn’t exactly sit well with the EU. In 2012, the European Union conducted a study to determine whether or not Veikkaus’ hold over the online gambling industry was legal. Finland argued that by having only one internet gambling company, bettors here are better protected from abuse and problem gambling.
In 2013, the EU conceded. They continue to allow this country to operate its own monopoly over the online gambling market. To the government’s credit, Veikkaus has been surprisingly successful in generating revenue.
There are still many that are calling for this country to open the doors to foreign gaming companies. Sweden’s government recently began allowing internet gambling companies based abroad to operate in the country after obtaining a license from the government. Will Finland ever decide to do the same?
Finland’s Online Gambling Market Begins to Expand
This country’s government doesn’t seem too interested in allowing foreign gaming companies to enter the market. They are, however, ready to give bettors in the country a few more options. This week, Veikkaus announced it has agreed to a partnership with International Games Technology (IGT).
This partnership will last for an initial period of four years. One of IGT’s division suppliers, PlayRGS, will provide installation, maintenance, and support services to Veikkaus. It also includes a full library of PlayRGS’ slots, table games, and video poker services.
CEO of Veikkaus Olli Sarekoski commented on the major gaming expansion to the media this week.
“This agreement gives the lottery enhanced flexibility to offer our players the games they want and ensures the sustainability and ongoing success of our digital program,” he said. “Veikkaus is committed to engaging our players with a variety of highly entertaining games across all channels.”
International Games Technology already has a major presence in the Nordic region. This company provides gaming software and support to both Danske Spil in Denmark and Norsk Tipping in Norway. Finland’s online gambling market is now set to expand. Does this mean the country’s online gambling industry will remain closed off forever?
Future of Online Gambling in Finland
At the moment, there are no reasons to believe Finland will open its doors to foreign gaming companies. As we just mentioned, Sweden recently did just that with varying degrees of success. Their online gambling revenue has increased, yet gambling addiction rates here are slightly increasing. That’s quite a feat, considering Sweden has some of the tightest online gaming regulations in Europe.
Sweden isn’t the only country struggling with gambling addiction. According to the Irish Post, the UK and Ireland are both working to revamp their current set of gambling laws. Both these nations have unsettlingly high rates of problem gambling.
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Finland’s online gambling market continues to generate significant revenue, despite the lack of options for players. Interestingly, even this country seems to be struggling with rising gambling addiction rates. Lawmakers here recently approved stricter regulations over the online gambling industry.
It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Finland open its market eventually. Regardless of how you look at it, the government here would stand to benefit if more sites were operating and taxed. We’ll keep you updated on any changes to Finland’s internet gaming laws as they happen.
Do you think IGT will help to make Finland’s online gambling industry stronger? When will this country allow foreign gaming sites to begin operating? Let us know in the comments section below!
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