Finnish lawmakers introduce several reforms to lottery law


The blocking of payments for unregulated operators and the ban on slot machine advertisements are part of a recent package of reforms introduced by Finnish lawmakers as they seek to “Reduce the disadvantages of the game”.

Finland is one of the few EU member states to cling tightly to a monopoly model of gambling regulation. Veikkaus, a state-run online retail and gambling group, is the only entity licensed to conduct real money gambling and betting business in the country.

A recently introduced bill could lead to a series of amendments to the national lottery law if it obtains the necessary support from the Finnish Parliament.

The new bill provides for the introduction of payment blocking for unregulated gambling companies that target Finnish players. The measure would task the police with keeping a list of gaming companies whose transactions should be blocked by Finnish banks and other local payment service providers.

As part of the proposed new reforms, mandatory identity verification, which was already rolled out in the Veikkaus slot machine fleet earlier this year, would be extend to all other forms of play available in Finland. This particular measure should be implemented by 2024.

Advertising regime changes are also looming

The way gambling products are advertised in Finland would also change if proposed updates to the Lottery Act were given the support they needed.

The bill provides for a ban on advertising gambling considered particularly harmful, including slot machines. The new measures would also require gambling advertisers to include information on the age limit, the ability to self-exclude from gambling, as well as services that help people with gambling problems.

If any of the new marketing rules are broken, the Police Commission should impose penalties and warnings.

However, while in some areas advertising would be severely restricted, in others the controls would be relaxed.

The revised lottery law allow advertising for betting games like toto. These are currently banned from marketing. The Finnish government has said the measure is aimed at helping players move into the country’s regulated market.

Veikkaus, the Finnish gambling monopoly, would be required to consider placing slot machines at its sites in areas where they can be easily monitored. The company and its slot machine suppliers should also write a self-monitoring plan to ensure that “Principles and prevention of damage” are well implemented.

The company recently rolled out a new feature that allows its customers to limit their losses on its physical slot machines. This came after the Finnish Interior Ministry set a maximum gambling loss limit of € 500 per day and € 2,000 per month.

Source: Finland to introduce payment blocking and ban slot machine ads in new lottery law, iGamingBusiness, September 27, 2021

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