The Finnish Lotteries Act (1047/2001) grants the exclusive right to offer gambling services in the territory of Finland to the state-owned monopoly operator, Veikkaus. Gambling services cover both land-based and online activities, including lotteries, casinos games, slot machines, horseracing and betting. In January 2020, the Ministry of Interior initiated a project to reform the Finnish Lotteries Act. This article gives a brief overview of the recent developments in Finland.
Reforming Finnish Lotteries Act
In January 2020, the Ministry of Interior initiated a project to reform the Finnish Lotteries Act. However, the proposal is not focusing on opening the Finnish market to foreign online gambling operators. The focus of the project is on measures reducing gambling problems in Finland. Further, legislative means to support the operating conditions of Veikkaus and strengthen the existing exclusive right system are being examined, including payment barriers against unlicensed operators and measures against overseas broadcasters advertising gambling into Finland. The project is running until November 2020.
Consequences of Covid-19
In April 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced that a Decree of the Ministry of the Interior on Veikkaus Oy’s Gambling Rules will cut down loss limits like other northern countries on most forms of gambling in order to restrict gambling during the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, the limits were dropped from EUR 2,000 to EUR 500 per month. Further, the maximum daily losses were lowered from EUR 1,000 to EUR 500. The loss limits apply to all “fast-paced games”, including online slots, casino games, and lotteries, e-Bingo as well as virtual betting. They will remain in place until the end of September 2020.
Recent measures taken by the National Police Board
In mid-2019, the National Police Board and the Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) announced that they are joining forces to intensify the surveillance of illegal gambling advertisements on television and radio (“TVC”). This move was “labelled” as a step towards intensified enforcement measures against foreign operators by the latter two agencies. The National Board of Police has further stated in early 2020 that while it enforces gambling law, it will increasingly monitor social media and offshore operators.