Offline and internet gambling in Finland is monopolized by three companies: RAY, Fintoto and Veikkaus. In theory, each group focuses on one facet of online gambling. RAY operates slots and casino games; Veikkaus provides general sports betting services; and Fintoto offers betting on horse races.
In practice, however, the offerings of these three operators overlap, and this has Finnish MPs concerned. Overlap means competition, and competition among local operators goes against the whole idea of a state gambling monopoly. The concern is that the EU may be able to use this competition as an excuse to force Finland to open up its online gambling industry to foreign operators.
Finnish gambling laws support the current monopoly, and use it as an excuse to keep foreign competition away. The rationale is that by controlling all gambling in the country, the social effects of gambling can be managed. This argument has been accepted by the EU as a valid reason for the existence of a gambling monopoly.
If the EU notices that Finland’s gambling industry is not as monopolistic as it claims to be, the country could be accused of violating European Commission free trade policy. One option would be to merge the company’s three gambling operators into a single entity, as was recently suggested by MP Matti Adhe, but a better solution for Finnish gamblers would be for the country to allow foreign operators to set up online gambling sites in Finland.