Finland is a country filled with people who love to gamble. If you were to look at some of the biggest ever progressive jackpot slot winners, or lottery wins, many of them come from the Nordic nation. Not only do Finns love to gamble, but they are also relatively free to do so in their own country. Finland is one of the most open nations around when it comes to gambling, both in land-based venues and online. Officially, there are rules and regulations which must be followed, as you might imagine. However, the reality of the situation is that Finns can do as they wish, whenever they want. This is unquestionably an online gambling market which is worth exploring in more detail.
An Overview of Gambling in Finland
All forms of online gaming are legal in Finland. Initially, the country had several gambling laws, which include the Finnish Lotteries Act of 2001, and specific government decrees on games operated by Fintoto, Veikkaus, and RAY, or Raha-Automaattiyhdistys (Finland’s Slot Machine Association). This made things a touch complicated. Those companies have now merged to form Veikkaus Ltd, making things simple to understand.
The current situation in Finland is straightforward. Veikkaus Ltd has a monopoly for online gambling, so all Finnish licensed casinos are operated by this state-owned company. However, if you think that this limits the availability of betting sites you can play at, you are wrong. Finnish players not only have access to a wide selection of Veikkaus owned casinos but also lottery betting sites, sports betting websites and more. Finns also have access to offshore casinos, and this is what makes it one of the best countries in the world to live in if you wish to gamble online.
About Finnish Offshore Casinos
In theory, only Finnish online casinos are permitted to offer their services to Finns. Any casino which accepts Finnish players and is not licensed out of the country is undoubtedly illegal, right? Wrong. Finland does not actually state that foreign casinos (known as offshore casinos) are legal or illegal. If something is not officially declared illegal, then the grey-zone it falls in essentially becomes legal. This is the case with external and remote casino sites.
While some countries opt to crack down on offshore casinos by having their ISPs (internet service providers) blacklist them, Finland does not. In some countries, nationals and residents may be prosecuted for gambling at these domains, but they are not in Finland. On the contrary, the Finnish gambling authorities do absolutely nothing about this. This means that Finnish players are more than welcome to play at offshore casinos to their heart’s content. The country has not exactly given those players their blessing, but that does not really matter. It is thought that more Finnish players engage in gambling activities at offshore domains than are signed up at legal and licensed Finnish casino sites.
Ordinarily, this would present quite a problem for Finland. After all, every euro spent in an offshore casino is income which is not going into the Finnish purse. Given that the European Union (of which Finland is a member) is opposed to monopolies such as Veikkaus, it is not surprising to see Finland take a very calm approach to foreign sites, many of which are operating out of other EU countries. For the time being, that does not look set to change.
Finland’s Most Played Casino Games
Finns do love to gamble, and they are not overly bothered about what they wager on. Like in every country, the Finnish population has its favourites. However, Finns and more broad-minded when it comes to betting online, so seemingly anything and everything is up for grabs. Here are a few of the games you can expect to find commonly offered at Finnish online casinos.
Slot Machines: Slot machines always attract a crowd in Finland. In fact, the biggest ever payout on a progressive jackpot slot was won by a Finnish player and stands at over €13m. Finnish online casinos – whether they are licensed in the country or abroad – are usually packed with hundreds of slot games for Finns to play, with titles from Scandinavian software developers such as Net Entertainment amongst the most popular.
Card Games: Traditional casino card games are not as popular in Finland as online slots. Nevertheless, there is an ample number of people who are prepared to have a pop at them. These RNG (random number generator) games will typically include titles such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and perhaps even games such as craps and video poker.
Poker Games: Finland is a country which does not have any gambling laws relating to poker. However, it is assumed that the overarching gambling laws of the country also apply to poker. As a result, poker games are commonly found in Finnish online casinos and are amongst the most played games around. Poker rooms are limited in the country, so many Finns pop to offshore sites to play in top poker games and tournaments.
Live Dealer Casino Games: Finnish online casinos do support live dealer games. In most cases, these games come from the heavyweights such as Evolution Gaming and include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, money wheel games and more. It is not impossible to find titles which are playable in Finnish, either, with Finnish (Suomi) Roulette one such example from Evolution.
Lottery, Keno and Bingo: Lottery and bingo games which are played as instant win titles can regularly be found in Veikkaus licensed and owned casinos. However, if you wish to play proper lottery games, you need to head to specialist websites. Kultakuume, Smaragdi and Timantti are popular games which can be played in Finland.
As mentioned, Veikkaus has a monopoly on most gambling games in Finland. This means that many of their online casinos are multifunctional domains. You should not be surprised to see sports betting options available at these sites. Finnish sports betting options are a touch more limited than their offshore cousins. With that in mind, it is no surprise to see many Finns flock to foreign sites to get their dose of sports betting, either. Just like Veikkaus operated Finnish casinos, these offshore domains which cater to Finns will also likely carry multiple gambling games, including casino titles and perhaps even poker games.
Taxes on Big Wins at Finnish Casinos
Finland is one of a handful of major gambling countries which does not apply a gambling tax on players. Anything you win is yours to keep. It does not matter whether you win a few euros or millions of euros on a progressive jackpot slot – such as the €13m haul mentioned earlier. All wins are deemed the same and are free from tax.
However, this may not be the case if you are a professional gambler. Professional gamblers are often required to declare any winnings as income in many countries, and this could be the case in Finland, too. This depends on how much you win and how often you bet. You will need to prove that you gamble professionally for a start. You may also end up paying tax in interest gained from particularly big wins. This is true of all major incomes, though.
Finland has one of the lowest gambling taxes for casino operators in the world. Any operators which are licensed out of Finland (so, Veikkaus) are taxed at a rate of 8.25%. All the profits from those taxes are donated to charities, which certainly does not happen in too many other countries. As Veikkaus is a state-owned company, nobody tends to argue with that.
The Best Finnish Online Casinos to Join Today
By now, you will have read about Finland’s gambling laws, and perhaps gained a little insight into how things work. In short, if it is owned by Veikkaus, then it is legal. You will also have stumbled across the types of casino games that Finns just love to play, which are numerous. What makes a top Finnish casino, though?
We are going to end this piece by looking at the aspects which make a top Finnish online casino, and the best casinos for players in Finland. These terms do not only apply to casinos which are licensed out of Finland but also those which are licensed offshore, because as mentioned, they are technically legal, too. Let us begin…
Security and Safety: First and foremost, the best Finnish online casinos will always be licensed. Casinos which are state-owned will naturally be licensed by Veikkaus. However, offshore casinos should be licensed, too. In most cases, we would recommend playing at foreign domains which are licensed out of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, or Malta. The reason for this is that those casinos are often the most well-regulated in the world, promote responsible gaming, and have continually proven themselves trustworthy over many years.
Greater Variety of Games: If we could criticise Finnish licensed casinos for one thing (apart from being part of a monopoly) we would have to say that their biggest downside is that they lack an extensive selection of games. Sure, there are many hundreds of slots you can play, and you have access to sports betting and table games, too. Why choose from hundreds of slots when you can opt to play thousands, though? Many of the best offshore Finnish casinos carry games from 20+ developers, and that gives you more choice when you are looking for something to play.
Finnish Payment Methods: Naturally, any top online casino, irrespective of where it is licensed, must offer the euro currency option to be deemed one of the best Finnish casinos. On top of that, though, it should also carry a range of top payment methods which work for Finnish players. Finnish players are partial to Euteller, credit card, debit cards and e-wallets. Mobile transfers are usually done with Zimpler (a Swedish payment method), although paying via phone bill is also a popular option. In recent years, some Finnish players have started to use Bitcoins to deposit into their accounts. Ultimately, the best Finnish casinos will be prepared for every eventuality. They will offer a wide range of banking options, with no added fees and speedy transaction times. In fact, some Finnish casinos process withdrawals instantly.
Finnish Support: Many Finns are quite good at English, so playing at an English language offshore casino is not likely to phase them. However, it does still help a casino stand out if it proves gameplay and support in Finnish. Many of the best sites will at least allow the casino’s interface to be displayed in Finnish, even if the customer support options which are available are in English. Naturally, at a Veikkaus-owned casino, everything is in Finnish from start to…well, finish.
No Sign-Up Process: Some Finnish licensed online casinos do not require players to sign up for an account. This is a similar process to what you might find at a handful of Swedish casinos. How this works is rather clever. Finland uses bank or mobile-based identification. This means that you sign into a casino using an e-signature such as BankID. You do not need to create an account, either. This type of responsible gaming platform often means that bonuses and promotions are not widely available. However, because there are precious few bonuses and no wagering requirements, casinos have no reason to delay your payouts. At these casinos, your withdrawals are processed instantly. You can have hold of your winnings in just a few hours, tops. This kind of no sign-up service is only available (for the most part) at Veikkaus operated online casino sites, not your run-of-the-mill offshore domains.
As you can see, there are many reasons why popping over to a Finnish online casino is worth your while. Moreover, if you do not like what Finnish licensed casinos have to offer, you have an abundance of choice when it comes to foreign casinos. As a Finn, you are at liberty to chop and change and play at virtually any major casino or gambling site on the net legally. It does not get much better than that.