Finnish Lottery Act passes first reading

The Finnish Lottery Act must now pass a second reading.
The Finnish Lottery Act must now pass a second reading.

The new Finnish Lottery Act proposes tougher measures against offshore operators.

Finland.- The Finnish parliament has approved the country’s Lottery Act on its first reading. The updated legislation will introduce tougher measures against offshore operators to protect the state-controlled operator Veikkaus’s monopoly on gaming in the country.

The act proposes to allow payment blocking against any operator other than Veikkaus. Meanwhile, mandatory ID verification, which Veikkaus has already imposed on its slots offerings, will be extended to all gambling by 2024 and the advertising of games considered to be particularly harmful, such as slots, will be banned.

However, Finland’s Constitutional Committee suggested that the proposal for payment blocking would breach the Finnish constitution. It insisted that payment blocks be issued only against payments to operators and not player transactions. The act must pass a second reading before it can be signed into law by Finland’s president.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has also severely criticised the bill.

Secretary general Maarten Haijer said: “The introduction of PSP blockings is an implicit admission that many of Finland’s gamblers prefer to bet on other websites rather than that of the state-run monopoly.

“There are many reasons why they do so: the availability of better betting odds, and better diversity and expertise in the products offered, are to name a few.

“In the online world, consumers vote with their feet and that is why we will continue to encourage the government to rethink, rather than reinforce, the country’s online gambling monopoly model and advocate for the benefits of establishing a well-regulated, multi-licensing model for online gambling in Finland.”

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