New means to combat negative impacts of gambling
Introducing compulsory identification of slot machine players and opportunities for setting gambling restrictions
In order to reduce the negative economic, social and health impacts of gambling, the Government is proposing requiring players to identify themselves when they play slot machines found in shops or kiosks, for example. The proposal on this matter was submitted to Parliament on 25 October.
"Gambling researchers, gambling addicts and their families and friends are concerned about the problems caused by slot machines played in shops and kiosks. The aim is that in future slot machine players could set gambling restrictions on themselves. With this legislative proposal we will also reduce the administrative burden of voluntary activities, for example by simplifying licence processes for lotteries," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
At the moment, players must identify themselves when they play Veikkaus online games. If identification were also required at slot machines, restrictions could be introduced to manage at-risk gambling at physical slot machines, too. Under the Lotteries Act, the age limit for all gambling is 18 years. When players are required to identify themselves, compliance with the age limit can be monitored more effectively at the same time, as identification will in future require players to be Veikkaus customers.
The intention is for the compulsory identification of slot machine players to enter into force at the start of 2022 following a transition period. Slot machines would be equipped with devices enabling identification even before 2022. At this stage, compulsory identification would not apply to slot machines in Veikkaus’ own game arcades. The Ministry of the Interior is working together with the National Police Board, problem gambling experts in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National Institute for Health and Welfare, organisations involved in the prevention of problem gambling and Veikkaus Oy to prepare the technical implementation of compulsory identification and restrictions set on gaming accounts.
Licence procedures relating to non-money lotteries and bingo to be simplified
The proposal would simplify licence procedures for non-money lotteries, bingo games, non-money prize machines and certain other game machines and game equipment by extending the maximum length of the permit from six months to 12 months. In addition, the limit for the combined sales price of the tickets in a small lottery run without a non-money lottery licence would be raised from EUR 2,000 to EUR 3,000. These amendments are scheduled to enter into force in autumn 2019.
Reform of the Lotteries Act continues
The previous reform of the Lotteries Act focused on the merger of the gambling operators. The new Veikkaus — a fully State-owned Finnish gambling company — started operating at the beginning of 2017. Veikkaus Oy is the only gambling operator in Finland that has the right to run gambling operations. To channel the demand for gambling into national supervised gambling games, the Ministry of the Interior will draw up a preliminary report on the technical measures that can be used, if necessary, to prevent online gambling run by any other operator than Veikkaus in mainland Finland. At the same time, the Ministry will also explore other ways to support the channelling of the demand for gambling and assess the need to further develop the legislation with a view to providing players with better opportunities to set gambling restrictions on themselves, allowing the use of different payment methods and shortening the time limit for claiming the winnings.
This work should be complete by the end of March 2019.
Jukka Tukia, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 573, [email protected]
Elina Rydman, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 586, [email protected]
Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 5131539 (requests for interview with Minister Mykkänen), Ministry of the Interior