A Guide to Gambling in Finland

Kouvola, Finland - 15 September 2020: Upm Kymi factory in Kuusankoski.

Gambling is almost certainly a lifestyle in Finland with a large number of Finnish people enjoying the sport every day. Even despite the lockdown, gambling has still been booming in the country as more of the younger generation get involved as well.

It is estimated that an individual spends an average of £350 on local gambling every year. This is not counting the online gambling proceeds which are consistently higher but harder to track and measure.

How the gambling industry is run

The gambling industry is run differently from the typical methods seen in other countries. Here, the government regulations and interference with the market are quite heavy which is why in a country that is so in love with gambling, there are only 16 land-based casinos throughout the country.

The Finnish government has a monopoly over all the gambling-related activities:

  • Veikkaus – The top betting agency
  • RAY – Slot games
  • Fintoto – Horse races

In 2017, all three of these betting and gaming firms were merged into one entity named Veikkaus Oy which is running the entire industry now. This method may have had some pushback during the early stages, but flourishing profits and a sense of patriotism in many Finns have shifted the attitude towards this approach.

This is due to two reasons. One is that all profits created by Veikkaus Oy are shared among a few state projects and ministries such as the Ministry of Education and Culture. When the people know that the money is being used by the government to improve their existing lifestyle, they are comfortable enough to spend more on gambling. The other reason is the popularity of gambling amongst most of its citizens and its resulting success in both the local and online gambling markets.

Gambling laws to know in Finland

Veikkaus Oy controls both the land and online casinos. There are two main land-based casinos in Helsinki and Tampere, and all the registered online gambling sites are run by RAY and a company called PAF.

Data protection is taken seriously in Finland, especially by the ruling company, and so there is direct government involvement to ensure that all players’ data is safe when they gamble within these spheres.

Before you begin gambling, these are the basic rules/laws that everyone will have to follow:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and have yourself registered.
  • A Finnish bank account
  • A Finnish security number
  • A Finnish home address
  • A maximum of £460 can be allotted per person for any game – table or slots

As a player, the government expects you to only gamble money that you can afford to lose. This is why there is a maximum cap on how much you can put forward.

Online gambling in Finland

Owing to multiple reasons such as the pandemic which forced people to stay at home and the rise of younger generations also involved in gambling, the online industry has been increasing in popularity over recent years.

The online side of gambling is handled by RAY which is why it is difficult for private online gambling companies to set up and operate gambling sites in Finland. All Finnish who gambles online in Finland is gambling on government-regulated websites.

And although there is a regulator for these sites, there are still a large number of platforms that Finnish people can use for gambling activities. Trying to find the best ones that can bring you the best winnings can be tough and exhausting. This is why sites like Casino Gorilla aim to make it easier for players to find what they’re looking for through an online gambling directory.

On other hand, there is no law that prevents any Finnish from gambling on online sites that are outside of the Finland territory. And due to how popular gambling is in the country, many of the top online casinos from other parts of the world are understanding the potential of attracting Finnish gamblers. 

These companies also face some resistance from the Finland government in terms of limitations in advertising. Gambling-related advertisements are banned/restricted in the country and so foreign casinos cannot advertise directly to Finnish citizens. But, there are many workarounds to this and other more subtle methods that are used to attract this crowd.

What is the gambling industry worth in Finland?

The gambling industry has been growing exponentially since the government took control except for last year due to Covid. According to statistics, the whole market generated €1.6 Billion in 2020 which is a drop from the €2 Billion recorded in 2016.

However, due to the popularity of online gambling, these numbers are set to return to a figure over €2 Billion by 2022. This is further punctuated by the fact that land-based casino winnings have fallen for three consecutive years but the revenues are still rising due to online winnings.

What games can you play in Finland casinos?

Finland has some beautiful land-based casinos such as Casino Cosmopoli which you need to visit if you’re in Finland even if you don’t want to play. There is a lot to marvel at inside these casinos and who knows, you may be tempted to play a game or two. 

The minimum bet is €0.80 and you can play a variety of games. Some of the most popular slot games in Finland include:

  • Neon Staxx
  • Starburst
  • Gladiator Jackpot
  • Book of Dead
  • Wolf Gold

Now that online games are also popular, there are a few key games that many Finnish like to play:

  • Punto Banco
  • Texas Hold’em
  • American Roulette
  • Blackjack

How can you get started?

As long as you clear the laws being regulated by the government, you should have no problem entering the gambling market and immersing yourself in all the games and excitement they offer.

However, trying to find your way among the myriad of online sites and games can be overwhelming and difficult. The best way to start would be to do a little research into the type of games you might be interested in playing and then finding the best games you can play. You can do this using online gambling comparison lists that provide you with the latest and greatest online casinos available for you to play on.

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