Finnish parties show united support to possible end of Veikkaus gambling monopoly

 Veikkaus remains the only licensed operator for land-based and online gaming in Finland.
Veikkaus remains the only licensed operator for land-based and online gaming in Finland.

Media report that three political blocs favour the move to investigate opening the gambling market.

Finland.- The Finnish government’s decision to change tact and consider opening Finland’s gambling market to private competition appears to have won support from across the political spectrum.

Finland remains one of Europe’s last monopoly gambling markets, with Veikkaus the only licensed operator for land-based and online gaming. However, in a change of heart, the government announced at the start of the month that it was investigating the possibility of ending its monopoly.

Minister of European affairs and ownership steering Tytti Tuppurainen said the government would investigate 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 were in agreement that ending the monopoly should be considered.

Now the local media outlet Yle.fl has quoted three politicians from different political blocs speaking in favour of the move. Members of the Centre Party and National Coalition Party (NCP) and the Labour Institute for Economic Research (Labore) all spoke positively of the investigation and possible opening of the market in recognition of the fact that Veikkaus is losing market share as many people choose to gamble with unlicensed offshore operators, with the government losing out on tax revenue as a result.

Eeva Kalli, chair of the Centre Party parliamentary group, said: “It’s unsustainable for gaming profits to increasingly end up outside of Finland while they cause harm here.”

Kai Mykkänen, who leads the NCP parliamentary group, noted the impact on player protection saying: “Monopolies generally aren’t a good way of mitigating health dangers or other problems. They’re historical remnants.”

Mika Maliranta, leader of Labore, said: “Technological progress is a factor reducing the impact of monopolies on markets. Major practical problems exist in the regulation of 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 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.

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gambling regulation Veikkaus