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Betting in Finland

Published on: 01/02/2016

Gambling in Finland is split into three main categories: bingo, casino and slot machines. All of which are governed under the 1966, Lottery Act. Regulated horse racing and sports gambling are also available and provide funds for non-profit organisations.

Oy Veikkaus Ab manages the National Lottery as well as promoting scratch cards in Finland. In total, just three organisation are permitted to offer gambling activities throughout the country. Some of the profits from Oy Veikkaus are used to help with youth programs as well as activities in the worlds of arts, culture, sport and science.

Punters must have a local bank account in order to partake in lottery games. The lottery is aimed specifically at Finnish residents and the lottery guidelines are only available in the national dialect. All transactions, including ticket purchases, deposits and withdrawals must be made through Veikkaus accounts. It is thought that there are in the region of approximately 70,000 lottery players registered in the nation.

In Finland, an organisation known as Suomen Hippos manages the trotting and horse breeding industry. They also run Fintoto Oy which in turn organises all Toto betting. There are over 40 racetracks nationwide with 3 large tracks located in Foressa, Tampere and Lappeenranta.

A publically owned company called RAY (Rahaautomaattiyhdistys ) dominates the casino scene in Finland. RAY controls approximately 18,000 gaming tables throughout the country located in over 50 games arcades, and in excess of 4,000 retail establishments. The general age of consent to play is 18, however some areas accept punters of 15 years of age. Betting profits are often used to benefit health and social care initiatives.

Finland has many restaurants which are licensed by RAY to facilitate gambling tables however the country only has a couple of actual casino style venues in situ. The Arkipelag Hotel and Casino, located on the islands of Aland, offers 6 gambling tables including poker and table games as well as 80 slot machines - all within a space of 1,650-square-feet.

The Grand Casino Helsinki is much bigger, with 29,000 square foot of space over 3 levels. It facilitates some 300 slot machines and 32 tables featuring popular games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and Craps.

The Aland Province is made up of over 6,000 islands in the Baltic Sea and enjoys autonomous jurisdiction. Betting activities there are managed by PAF (Ålands Penningautomatförening). Many forms of gambling are managed by PAF such as Slot Machines, casino games, bingo, Poker, lottery, sports gambling and Toto. As with elsewhere in Finland, the profits are used to benefit sports and cultural activities as well as welfare and social initiatives.

PAF has recently been involved in disputes with other monopolies over its control over betting on ferries and its involvement in internet gambling. Finland’s regulations on gambling, which were made in 2002, state that only one licence can be granted for an active internet betting website at a time. Politicians assigned RAY to manage internet betting services in Finland; however, lots of citizens wager via the PAF web site, which in actual fact, was the first online Sportsbook to become available in the country. Lotteries organized by PAF welcome interest from many thousands of Veikkaus punters who often enjoy wagering online. In a recent dispute, RAY accused PAF of running its gambling services in an unlawful manner which resulted in police investigations. As it stands, the government has stated that the country will have two types of gambling services and accepts that PAF outwardly manages Finland’s only internet gambling web site.

There are approximately 500 gambling websites based abroad who offer the Finnish citizens betting services online. As an alternative to PAF, the Finns can enjoy wagering with many well-known sportsbooks such as Betsson, Unibet and Ladbrokes, who also provide information in the Finnish dialect. The European Union (EU) is trying to encourage Finland to take action over the countries gambling industry monopoly. Meanwhile, despite their efforts, government authorities in Finland have failed to gain the upper hand when it comes to gambling via foreign sportsbooks.