Nordic countries have become attractive to international gambling companies. Finland, in particular, is said to be one of the biggest and most thriving European gambling markets. However, unlike many other jurisdictions in Europe, this country chooses to keep its monopoly regulatory system. It is also unlikely that this scenario will change in the near future.
Finnish media outlet Yle recently funded a report compiled by a market research company Taloustutkimus. It showed that almost 70% of people in Finland want the government to keep its monopoly on gambling. Yle reports that that group of people comprised mainly of older population of Finland. Younger people, on the other hand, were more open to accept a new licensing system that would allow international gambling companies to operate in a regulated environment.
Up until recently, gambling activities in the country were managed by three state-run organisations: Veikkaus Oy (betting and lottery), Fintoto Oy (pari-mutuel betting) and RAY (casino offering). Earlier this year, all these three were merged into one state-run monopoly called Veikkaus.
Back in the early 2010s, the European Commission requested Finland to implement some changes in order to comply with the EU law. At that time the country decided to make changes in the monopoly system rather than removing it at all. Such decision was approved by EU officials as it did not violate the European trade agreement.
According to Yle, Finns wager over €10 billion yearly on different gambling products, both online and in land casinos. Further, H2 Gambling Capital provided a chart which showed that Finnish players spent an estimated total of $2.2 billion in the industry in 2016. Based on these numbers, Finns were ranked as the most active gamblers. Finnish players are mostly attracted to online gambling and gaming machines.