Finns see fewer locations each year that offer traditional table gambling options such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps. Restaurants and bars are no longer willing to be inundated by the constant presence of the state gambling monopoly – Rahaautomaattiyhdistys (RAY) – translated to ‘The Slot Machine Association.’
As the number of bars and restaurants willing to accept the intrusions of RAY falls, gamblers in Finland are seeing few places where it’s still possible to play traditional games besides the legal online casino in Finland.
According to RAY’s communications manager, Matti Hokkanen – “In Finland there are currently 31 roulette tables in restaurants and bars, when nine months ago there were 42.” The 27% drop in roulette tables within a single year left entire sections of the country without even one table despite the popularity of the game. South Karelia, for example, has been without a roulette table for over a year, frustrating local connoisseurs of the popular casino table game.
RAY stopped operating 30 gambling tables last year, mostly toward the end of December, as the popularity of the state operated internet casino games, sportsbooks and online poker sites in Finland surged.
RAY reported that during December of 2010 alone, the first month when online casino games powered by Playtech became available, a €2.4 million profit was realized. During 2010, profit from all gambling activity within mainland Finland reached €382 million mark.
Traditional slot machines are still very popular, despite resembling the 1960’s models found only on display in Casino Museums in other countries. The decline of the traditional gambling establishments has begun as Fins clearly prefer internet gambling, with its great variety of games and its ease of use. According to Finnish gambling laws, all profits from RAY and the sportsbook monopoly, Veikkaus, are exclusively used for charity, war veterans, the sick and the poor.