Finland Ends Gambling Monopoly, Ushering in Era of Licensed Operators

Finland’s gambling industry, traditionally dominated by the state-owned monopoly Veikkaus, is on a journey towards a reformed and regulated market. Scheduled to open in 2026, this transformation aims to reduce harm associated with gambling and combat the black market, ultimately providing a safer and more controlled environment for Finnish gamblers.

Under the current system, all gambling games in Finland fall under Veikkaus’ monopoly and are regulated by the Lotteries Act (1047/2001). Recently, however, the Finnish government has shown increased interest in adopting a licensing model, with indications pointing towards a fully regulated gambling market becoming a reality in the country by as soon as 2026.

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Once the Finnish gambling market opens in 2026, all international casinos will be able to apply for a Finnish gaming license. This will allow them to operate legally in the country and offer their services to Finnish players.

Finnish Gambling Regulation and Legal Framework

The main legal framework for gambling in Finland is governed by the Lotteries Act (1047/2001), which lays down provisions on the relevant products. The purpose of this act is to ensure the legal protection of gamblers, combat misuse and crime, as well as prevent and reduce negative economic, social, and health-related effects stemming from gambling. The Ministry of the Interior oversees gambling regulation through the Lotteries Act, affirming the rules governing gambling via a decree.

Understanding the Finnish Gambling Monopoly

In Finland, there exists a state monopoly on gambling services. The exclusive right to provide gambling services has been granted to Veikkaus Oy, a wholly state-owned operator. This monopoly system was designed to emphasize public safety and economic benefits while controlling gambling activities.

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The National Police Board and the Ministry of the Interior are responsible for gambling supervision and issuing administrative penalties for violations. In the event of a reform, the Parliament would need to address any changes to the existing monopoly system.

The Finnish gambling framework also covers the Åland Islands, where gambling is operated by Paf, an independent organization. As with the mainland’s regulatory approach, this setup aims to ensure legal protection for gamblers, maintain control over the gambling industry, and minimize harm to society.

Issues and Challenges in the Finnish Gambling Market

The Finnish gambling market is unique due to its state-owned monopoly. Veikkaus is responsible for managing all gambling activities in the country, including online gambling, preventing misuse, and promoting responsible gambling.

While Finnish players are allowed to gamble at international casinos, international casinos are prohibited from marketing their services to Finnish residents.

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International casinos can use casino comparison sites like to reach Finnish audiences by appearing in search results for terms related to online gambling in Finland. While the casinos themselves are not directly targeting Finnish players, they are still able to reach them through these sites.

Efforts Towards Responsible Gambling and Player Protection

As a big player in the gambling business, Finland has made efforts towards promoting responsible gambling and player protection. These efforts include implementing strict registration processes, payment blocking systems, and age limits for engaging in gambling activities. Furthermore, self-exclusion programs have been introduced to aid problem gamblers in managing their gambling habits. Just this week, Veikkaus even announced mandatory ID-checks for Scratchcard purposes.

However, despite these measures, problem gambling continues to be a concern in Finland. Research suggests that nearly 3% of people involved in gambling are problem gamblers, with another 11% at risk of developing gambling issues. This presents a challenge to the monopoly model, as there is a need for more robust prevention and treatment programs for gambling-related harm.

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