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Finland A Step Closer to Major Overhaul of Gambling Laws

Legislation

In a major step toward breaking the long-standing monopoly of Veikkaus Oy over betting, online slot machines, and casino games, the Finnish government has revealed a detailed draft plan to revise the country’s gambling regulations. As part of a crucial effort mentioned in the Government Programme, the Ministry of the Interior has extended the deadline for public feedback on this proposal until August 18, 2024.

Many online gambling sites currently do not adhere to national regulations and are therefore unregulated. This leaves a significant chunk of internet gaming unregulated.

Licensing and Regulatory Framework

The draft legislation outlines a comprehensive regulatory framework, which includes the following key points:

Supervisory Authority: Under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance, a new Supervisory Agency in Finland will be responsible for monitoring gaming operations. This body will have wide-ranging enforcement authority, including the capacity to levy fines, cancel licenses, and ensure that fines are paid in full.

Licensing System: The distribution of gaming software is one of the categories of gambling operations that operators may seek licenses to provide. The regulatory body will require license holders to pay quarterly supervision costs to maintain their licenses.

Gambler Registration: Provisions for gambling via registered accounts, age limitations, verification of identification and domicile, and gambler registration are all part of the proposal for a new law. All operators with valid licenses will be required to use a centralized registry for self-imposed gaming restrictions.

Marketing Regulations: Marketing efforts will need to be reasonable and essential to channel interest toward¬†legal gaming while collaboration with social media influencers will be¬†strictly forbidden. The promotion of games with significant potential for harm will be outlawed, along with the actual slot machines and casino games that are part of Veikkaus’ monopoly. Advertising to children or other vulnerable populations is completely unacceptable.

Payment and Network Blocks: The approach aims to address the issue of unlicensed gambling by implementing measures such as network-barring and payment-blocking. These steps will direct demand towards licensed and controlled choices, leading to better prevention of damage associated with gaming.

Timeline and Implementation

The government aims to present the proposal to Parliament in the spring session of 2025. The new system will be implemented in phases:

  • Early 2026: Applications for gambling licenses will open.
  • Early 2027: Licensed operators can begin offering services.
  • 2028: Only licensed game software providers will be allowed to supply software for gambling services.

From July 3, 2024, to August 18, 2024, the public will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on this plan. Anybody or any group may take part and voice their opinion by sending it to the Ministry of the Interior or posting it on Lausuntopalvelu.fi.

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