The investigation will look at the possibility of ending Veikkaus’s monopoly on gaming in Finland.
Finland.- The government of Finland is investigating the possibility of ending what is one of Europe’s few remaining monopoly gambling markets. Minister of European affairs and ownership steering Tytti Tuppurainen has confirmed that the government plans to begin an investigation into the possibility of ending Veikkaus’s position as a monopoly operator.
The minister told MTV Uutiset the investigation would begin early in the year and that the government and opposition agree that ending the monopoly should be considered. “As the minister of ownership, I myself hastened to make a report on a possible transition to a multi-licence system. It’s only a good thing that the opposition also shares this perception,” Tuppurainen said.
The minister hopes the investigation will be completed ahead of Finland’s general election on April 2. Tuppurainen said: “It would be ideal that by the time of the government negotiations, we would have enough information to be able to make policies.”
She noted that the opening of the market could benefit players and the country as currently, Veikkaus has strict player protection measures while non-regulated operators have no such obligations and do not pay taxes.
She said: “Right now the gaming companies from abroad operate as if in a wild grey zone. They are not subject to the same liability regulations that apply to Veikkaus.
“The situation naturally causes gambling disadvantages and at the same time the taxman’s hand is twisted, which means that the profits from gambling also go past Finland to foreign countries.”
Veikkaus was established in 2017 as a state-controlled combination of three separate monopoly gaming operators: Fintoto, the Slot Machine Association (RAY) and the Veikkaus lottery. It’s believed that any opening of the market would allow Veikkaus to retain its monopoly on both lottery and land-based casino gaming, but would open up online gambling.
Finnish parliament approves transition period for new ID regulations
In October, the Finnish parliament approved a transition period to give licensed operators time to update their systems for mandatory identification checks on coupon-based games. The new regulations for games such as Lotto and Eurojackpot came into force on January 1, but operators have until July 1 to comply.
The six-month transition period was agreed upon after the state-controlled gaming operator Veikkaus raised concerns about the short amount of time to adapt. It said that the global shortage of components caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine meant that its supplier was struggling to deliver the required technology for its terminals.