Finland state

European Gambling and Betting Association. Roll your eyes at Finland’s online gambling block

Posted: Dec 17, 2021, 6:35 a.m.

Last update on: December 17, 2021, 1:30 a.m.

Finland continues to give more control to its own operator Veikkaus. The last decision to support the operator is to put in place certain payment blocking measures. This decision led the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to once again request a review.

Finland
The flag of Finland, buried in the snow. Veikkaus could suffer the same fate, as the country continues to turn the screws on its gaming monopoly. (Image: Shutterstock)

The Finnish government has decided that one of the best ways to improve consumer protection and develop a responsible gambling regime is to lock it down. The country’s parliament last Tuesday approved a measure to amend Finland’s lottery law to achieve this goal.

All payment service providers would be required to reject any transaction destined for an online site, and not within the country. In other words, everyone except Veikkaus.

Big problems on the way

One problem observers have with the decision is that there is no evidence to support the idea that the blocks will work. According to the EGBA, “evidence from other countries” proves that such controls have virtually no effect on gambling.

The EGBA also says approval of the idea is another reason Finland’s gambling laws need a major overhaul.

The introduction of PSP locks is an implicit admission that many Finnish players prefer to bet on other websites rather than the state monopoly one, ” said EGBA General Secretary Maarten Haijer.

Another problem is that there are ways around the blocks. Consumers want the best deal, whatever the business. Sports bettors and players are also included and will bypass checks if it means they can win more.

Finland is making its own way

Finland is becoming a black sheep among European gambling communities. While it could create a strong and well-regulated market, it prefers to send players outside its borders.

Payment controls could also be unconstitutional. This is something that even the Finnish parliament has recognized, according to the EGBA. However, that little detail hasn’t stopped some lawmakers from pushing the idea forward.

Veikkaus has held the monopoly on gambling in Finland for more than seven decades.

The lottery law will enter into force on January 1, 2022. Payment blocking mechanisms are not expected to be introduced until a year later. This could give lawmakers and regulators enough time to do their homework and make changes.

If they don’t, the EGBA believes Finland will continue to fall into the rabbit hole. He says more Finns will opt for offshore options. Veikkaus has also introduced betting limits, which are not found on many offshore sites.

Especially with the cryptocurrency what it is today, Finland is potentially putting its gambling monopoly in a corner. Veikkaus may have a steady income now, but he might find himself trying to get out of that corner in the near future.