Finnish monopoly gambling operator RAY has extended the agreement with online gambling software company Playtech Ltd. to supply the state-run enterprise with online and mobile games until 2016.
The original four year contract was signed as RAY was preparing to launch its Finnish internet casino in November 2010.
“With the recent launch of Playtech’s mobile casino, RAY will have yet another platform to drive revenues and engage players in the Finnish market for years to come. RAY is a strategic Playtech partner, demonstrating our strong position in regulated markets,” said Playtech COO Shay Segev.
Finnish gambling laws have guaranteed non-profit, monopoly operations for decades, divided between three companies nationwide based on sector and geography. RAY has a monopoly over all of the slot machines and casino games across some 9,000 locations in Finland.
These are operated mostly by partners, such as pubs, cafes, restaurants and other small businesses, but RAY also has its own branded chains of arcades. The country’s only true casino, Casino Helsinki is also operated by the company.
PAF is another monopoly company, with jurisdiction over the autonomous Aland Islands. This division had worked well until PAF launched its online casino accepting players from all of Finland, stepping on RAY’s virtual feet in the process. In an unusual situation for a monopoly, the latter company was forced to compete and start its own internet venue.
With the genie out of the bottle, local players now benefit from the situation in the form of broadening gambling options, as well as increasing government revenues, since the companies operate as non-profit entities. The RAY-Playtech partnership was responsible for EUR 50 million in revenues last year.