The betting monopoly of Finland, the state-run Veikkaus, is not going anywhere, at least for the future. This is according to a fresh government proposal for restructuring the countries betting legislation.
On Thursday, Ministry of the Interior in Finland declared it was asking comments on a proposal for improving the Lotteries Act. This proposal’s significant points are enhanced consumer protections, fighting prohibited betting marketing and safeguarding Veikkaus Oy’s capacity to pass the betting demand.
In case the previous point was not adequately clear, the Ministry of Interior added that “the basic premise of the reform is that Finland’s gambling system will also in the future be based on the state monopoly in line with the government program.”
To maintain this monopoly, the Finance Ministry wants to allow the National Police Board to gather a blacklist of globally licensed betting websites that advertise their products to Finns, local banks and payment processor. They would be mandated to block the movement of funds between these websites and gamblers from Finland.
Backing for the state-run betting monopoly is still relatively high – 71.7 percent in the latest report from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). However, that support is slowly falling among all age demographic with the exception of senior citizens. What is more, Finns’ plurality – and most of the people between the ages of 25-34 strongly object to the government carrying out extra steps to stop their access to global betting websites.
Going back to the planned reforms, the Ministry seeks to stop the marketing of “certain particularly harmful gambling games, such as slot machines.”
Currently, Veikkaus is getting rid of its retail slots operations after several public relations blunders involving young people gaining access to the products and wide-ranging concerns over the availability of the machines. This is a problem both in arcades that are Veikkaus branded and its dispersed network of third-party retail partners.
The Finance Ministry does not plan to stop marketing for race betting products and Veikkaus’ sports. They argue that to do so will prevent the monopoly’s ability to channel the demand for betting. On the other hand, Veikkaus could not endorse “betting events relating to games associated with particularly harmful effects because of the ambiguity in the interpretation of such information.”
Veikkaus enforced mandatory client identity verification in its retail slots operations which began on New Year’s Day. The body plans to cover this requirement to various betting games too before 2023. However, lottery scratch cards will not need identity verification till 2024 for some undisclosed reasons.