Finnish committee says gaming payment blocks could breach constitution

Finland is analysing new restrictions to protect its gaming monopoly.
Finland is analysing new restrictions to protect its gaming monopoly.

Finland’s Constitutional Committee has opposed an amendment to Finland’s Lotteries Act that would block payments to all gaming operators other than state-controlled Veikkaus.

Finland.- Along with Norway, Finland is one of the few countries in Europe to retain a state-controlled monopoly system for gaming. However, a government committee has suggested it sees no justification for protecting that.

Analysing a proposed amendment to Finland’s Lotteries Act which would allow for payment blocking against non-licensed operators, the Constitutional Committee has concluded that there are no grounds to protect the monopoly of the state-controlled operator Veikkaus.

The bill filed in September would allow Finland to block payments to all gaming operators other than Veikkaus. Payment providers would have to implement the ban from January 1 2023. The same bill also introduces mandatory identification for all forms of gambling and a ban on slot ads from 2022.

However, the Constitutional Committee argued that the payment block would be “a far-reaching restriction of fundamental rights” and could not be justified by the argument that it aimed to prevent gambling harm.

It said such a block could violate Article 15 of Finland’s constitution, which covers the protection of property, and Article 18, which guarantees the freedom to conduct business.

The Committee has asked the government to investigate whether “less intrusive methods” could be explored to achieve the desired goals.

It also took issue with the bill’s language on marketing. It accepted the idea of tough restrictions like those that apply to alcohol but said more clarification was needed on the grounds for financial penalties and how they would be calculated.

See also: Veikkaus: loss limits cut problem gambling to “all-time low”

In this article:
gambling gambling regulation