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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has urged the Finnish government to “fix” its gambling policy by bringing an end to Veikkaus’ monopoly in the country. EGBA pointed out Finland is the only European Union member state that still maintains a gambling monopoly.
“Yet these days you are more likely to hear criticisms of Veikkaus and its prevalence across Finnish society,” Maarten Haijer, secretary-general of EGBA, said.
Haijer said its slot network was so large that for every one ATM in the country, there were ten slot machines, something Veikkaus is looking to address by taking 8000 machines out of service by the end of the year.
However, this is accompanied by public opinion shifting in favour of an end to the monopoly, as evidenced by a widely circulated 2019 survey from affiliate Kasino Curt.
This growing demand for alternative forms of gambling, Haijer explained, was largely down to the fact it is simply impossible to enforce a monopoly system online.
“This means that more choice or alternatives to Veikkaus can easily found on the internet with international betting websites. A recent survey showed that last year 16.4% of Finland’s online gambling revenue, equivalent to €105m in taxable revenue, was spent by Finns on international betting websites which pay their taxes elsewhere,” he said.
These sites, he said, offer better returns, higher winnings and a wider selection of products.
“Replacing the monopoly with an open-licensing system is not about getting more people in Finland to gamble, nor is it about killing off Veikkaus,” he said. “Rather, it is the sensible way to meet the demands of those Finnish gamblers who seek an alternative to the monopoly and currently gamble on international gambling websites – and to regulate and tax this activity.
“Introducing open-licensing for online gambling is not revolutionary, it is evolutionary, and will ensure that most Finns gamble in a regulated and protected environment. But adapted to the realities of our times.
“All other EU countries have already done this, it makes sense, and it’s time for Finland to do the same.”