The latest online gambling news in Finland reports on two news developments in this normally quiet Scandinavian country.
Govt. Policy Report Hints at Prohibition of Foreign Based Online Gambling in Finland
The new Finnish government policy report, written by Jyrki Katainen (Nat. Coalition Party), included a recommendation to ban and censor all foreign based gambling software as well as online poker, casinos, lotto, bingo and foreign based online sportsbooks in Finland. On page 62 of the official report titled “Substance Abuse Policy and Services” Jyrki Katainen writes:
[This is a loose translation]:
“A legal framework is currently under development to restrict the use of all foreign based gambling software. Foreign gambling businesses fail to protect Finnish gamblers against gambling addiction and don’t monitor, research, prevent or treat gambling addiction. The Finnish government along with community organizations, gaming associations and research institutes are uniting to fight against this pollution (foreign gambling providers).”
[Original in Finnish language]:
“Nykyistä rahapelien yksinoikeusjärjestelmää kehitetään rajoittamalla ulkomaille tapahtuvaa pelaamis-ta. Kehitetään rahapelihaittojen seurantaa, tutkimusta, ehkäisyä ja hoitoa. Viranomaisten, järjestöjen, peliyhteisöjen ja tutkimuslaitosten yhteistyötä pelihaittojen torjunnassa tehostetaan.”
It would be extremely difficult to censor the internet as Norway and Finland are finding out. Yet this is a troubling development coming from this normally liberalized Scandinavian country.
Finnish Lottery to Expand Globally
Finland state lottery, Veikkaus, is looking to expand into new markets. The gaming monopoly, operating under Finnish gambling laws, is unable to expand into other European Union countries and is looking towards Russia, United States and Finland. According to EU law, since Veikkaus is a government operated monopoly, it may not compete in the private sector in other EU member states.
In order to expand within the EU, Veikkaus would first have to lose its monopoly status, become privatized and Finland would need to completely rewrite its gambling laws. Finland has no desire to either give up their monopoly or to open up their gaming markets to foreign competition so instead is looking for greener pastures in Russia, Asia, and the Americas.
Veikkaus vice chairman, Olli Sarekoski explained that a subsidiary has already been created to form alliances with non-EU companies in order to profit from the target markets. Veikkaus plans to invent in 5%-20% of partner companies.”We are seeking large corporations to enter into business arrangements with in targeted foreign markets – traditional gambling operators, system vendors & media companies looking for new partnerships,” Sarekoski said.
This business strategy will be reevaluated in 2013.