European Gaming and Betting Assn. Rolls Its Eyes Over Finland’s Online Gambling Block

Posted on: December 17, 2021, 06:35h. 

Last updated on: December 17, 2021, 01:30h.

Finland continues to give its own Veikkaus operator more control. The latest decision supporting the operator involves instituting certain payment block measures. The decision has caused the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to once again call for an overhaul.

Finland
The flag of Finland, buried in snow. Veikkaus might receive 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 protections and develop a responsible gambling regime is to lock it down. The country’s parliament approved a measure this past Tuesday to change Finland’s Lotteries Act to achieve that goal.

All payment service providers would be required to reject any transaction that was destined for an online site, not inside the country. In other words, everyone but Veikkaus.

Big Issues in the Way

One issue 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 controls like these have almost no effect on gambling.

The EGBA also asserts that the approval of the idea is another reason why Finland’s gaming laws need a major overhaul.

The introduction of PSP blockings is an implicit admission that many of Finland’s gamblers prefer to bet on other websites rather than that of the state-run monopoly,” EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer asserted.

Another issue is that there are ways around the blocks. Consumers want to get the best deal, regardless of the activity. Sports bettors and gamblers are included, as well, and will circumvent the controls if it means they can earn more.

Finland Plotting Own Course

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

The payment controls might also be unconstitutional. This is something even Finland’s parliament has recognized, according to the EGBA. However, that minor detail hasn’t stopped certain legislators from pushing the idea forward.

Veikkaus has had a monopoly on gambling in Finland for over seven decades.

The Lotteries Act is going to become active as of January 1, 2022. The payment blocking mechanisms aren’t expected to be introduced until a year later. That could give lawmakers and regulators enough time to do their homework and make some changes.

If they don’t, the EGBA believes Finland will continue falling down the rabbit hole. It asserts that more Finns will opt for offshore options. Veikkaus has also introduced wager limits, which aren’t found in many offshore sites.

Especially with cryptocurrency what it is today, Finland is potentially painting its gaming monopoly into a corner. Veikkaus may have steady revenue now, but it might find itself trying to crawl out of that corner in the near future.