The Finnish government has officially announced its plans to revolutionize the country’s gambling industry. In June 2023, they revealed their intention to introduce a new domestic licensing system for online casinos and betting. This significant change is expected to be implemented no later than January 1, 2026, marking the end of the Finnish monopoly.

Under the current regulations, the Lotteries Act governs the Finnish gambling market, with state-run operator Veikkaus holding a monopoly on gambling services. However, Finnish players have been legally allowed to place bets with foreign operators based outside of Finland. In some cases, foreign operators have also been permitted to accept bets from Finnish players.

The introduction of the new licensing model is a clear indication of the Finnish authorities’ commitment to enhancing consumer protection and increasing the regulation of licensed gambling activities.

Recognizing the ineffectiveness of the Lotteries Act in recent years, significant reforms have been underway since 2021. The focus has been on empowering the authorities to swiftly address and take action against non-licensed operators who unlawfully provide and promote gambling services in Finland.

As a result, amendments to the Lotteries Act granting authorities more enforcement power came into effect in January 2022. Additionally, a provision for payment blocking was implemented in January 2023. This provision prohibits gambling operators from advertising their services in Finland, whether directly or indirectly. The National Police Board oversees this regulation and now has the authority, through the new payment blocking provision, to issue prohibition orders and add foreign operators to a payment blacklist for up to 12 months, with the option to renew it for an additional 12 months. Payment service providers are required to promptly implement the necessary blocks.

Despite these amendments, Finnish residents can still legally gamble with foreign operators, and under certain circumstances, foreign operators can still accept Finnish customers. However, until the licensing system becomes a reality, the current monopoly regime will remain in place.

The Finnish government’s determination to modernize the gambling industry and prioritize consumer protection is evident. Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting development.

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