Reform of the Lotteries Act continues
The Ministry of the Interior has launched a new project to reform the Lotteries Act. 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. The current project will prepare legislative amendments concerning the introduction of compulsory identification of slot machine players and amendments concerning licences for non-money lotteries, guessing games, bingo games and non-money prize machines.
Measures will also be taken to examine how to improve Veikkaus Oy’s capacity to channel the demand for gambling and to prevent the operations of gambling providers outside the exclusive rights system.
The aim is to submit the relevant government proposal to Parliament during the autumn session 2018. Measures will also be taken to assess what other legislative amendments are required. This work should be complete by the end of March 2019. The reform of the Lotteries Act is based on the guidelines adopted by the Government’s Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy on 8 May 2018.
Reform aims to prevent negative impacts of gambling
In the prevention of negative impacts of gambling, it is important to promote the identification of players in all Veikkaus Oy's gambling games. At the moment, players must identify themselves when they play Veikkaus online games. If identification were also required in slot machines, it would be possible to introduce restrictions to manage at-risk gambling in slot machines too.
Under the Lotteries Act, the age limit for all gambling is 18 years. When players must identify themselves, it is also possible to monitor compliance with the age limit more effectively. The intention is that the provisions on the compulsory identification of slot machine players will enter into force as soon as possible after 1 January 2021, or on 1 January 2023 at the latest.
As part of deregulation measures, the Government aims to reduce the administrative burden of voluntary activities and improve licence processes. Apart from gambling, lotteries are an important means to raise funds for voluntary organisations. Earlier this April, the Government already decided that licence and notification procedures relating to non-money lotteries, guessing games, bingo games and non-money prize machines be simplified by extending licence periods, for example.
Ways to prevent gambling outside the exclusive rights system to be examined
Veikkaus Oy is the only gambling operator in Finland that has the right to run gambling. To channel the demand for gambling into national supervised gambling games, the project will make a preliminary report on the technical measures that can be used to prevent, if necessary, online gambling run by any other operator than Veikkaus in mainland Finland. The report will also assess the legislative changes required to implement these technical measures.
The project will also explore other ways of supporting 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 prohibitions of gambling on themselves, allowing the use of different payment methods and shortening the time limit for claiming the winnings.
"In addition to preventing the negative impacts of gambling, it is important to make sure that Veikkaus Oy can continue to develop its operations also in the future," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
Katriina Laitinen, Director of Legislative Affairs, tel. +359 295 488 559, [email protected]