Gaming Market Insights Series #15: Finland — Crouching Tiger of Northern Europe
Finland has scored as the leading country in numerous metrics of education, economic competitiveness, quality of life, and human development. Its economy, however, has experienced some fluctuations recently due to global geopolitical unrest and economic downturn in Europe. Only until recently Finland has been enjoying positive economic growth around 2% for 2015–2016.
The country is still heavily reliant on domestic consumption as exports remain weak. Compared with the third quarter of 2015, GDP adjusted for working days grew by 1.6 per cent thanks to strong domestic demand. It is estimated that the economy will continue to grow by 1.1% in 2017 and 1.0% in 2018.
Gambling and betting arrangements require a licence in Finland, applicable to both online and mobile games of chance. All gambling within the country is non-profit, though still there is significant controversy around such approach.
Gambling and betting activities are regulated by the Lotteries Act. Subsequently, the licence has to be approved under strict supervision of local authorities. This is to protect those who engage in gaming activities, prevent abuse and criminal activities and reduce social problems incurred through gaming, such as gaming addiction. The online gaming market is now exclusively reserved for local players and remain conservative to foreign companies.
Lottery in Finland
Lottery is also legal in Finland. In theory, various companies can apply for and receive a permit for operating lottery games. The gaming licence has been granted to three organizations. Oy Veikkaus Ab operates lotto games, pools, betting games, instant games and other draw games. The other two operators in Finland are The Finnish Slot Machine Association RAY and Fintoto, which operates horse betting.
Veikkaus’ lottery, pools, and betting operations are supervised by the National Police Board under the Ministry of the Interior and only serve Finnish players. Besides total proceeds go to the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, which then allocates to Finnish arts, sports, science, and youth work.
Even though it is illegal for customers to get access to lottery games of the unlicensed Veikkaus through their webpage, such service still works well within the country. 2015 is another hit-year when turnover mounted to €2.095 billion, plus Veikkaus scored record-high profit around €537.1 million.
Rising private consumption and investment growth have pulled the economy out of Eurozone crisis. In the future, the government may seek more drastic measures and legal power to prevent citizens from betting using foreign bookmakers offering better rates, though this will set the EU on fire. However, no law prohibits foreign investors or private investors to throw their money in gambling. Hopefully in the near future, the outlook for the economy and gambling of Finland will turn more positive and sustainable.
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