Pilot study: Gambling legislation could be developed in many ways

Ministry of the Interior 29.5.2019 10.24 | Published in English on 31.5.2019 at 16.06
Press release 40/2019

The Ministry of the Interior examined the needs to develop gambling legislation. The pilot study assessed, for example, whether gambling harms could be reduced by using technical blocking measures to restrict gambling offerings against the Lotteries Act.

Only Veikkaus Oy is allowed to operate and market gambling in mainland Finland. Use of technical blocking measures means that access to other than Veikkaus Oy’s gambling sites is prevented and payment transactions related to such gambling are blocked. These measures could reduce the availability of gambling and the harms associated with gambling.

There would not seem to be any legal obstacles to introducing technical blocking measures for gambling outside mainland Finland. Practical challenges for the introduction of such measures can include, for example, the bypassing and proper targeting of blocking.

If effective, blocking would reduce Veikkaus Oy’s need to market its gambling offering and to maintain and develop games that attract players to gamble. Effective blocking would not necessarily mean that gaming would be shifted markedly to gambling operated by Veikkaus Oy. Instead, the player might also give up gambling altogether.

Gambling outside mainland Finland is associated with gambling risks and problems. It is thought that gambling outside mainland Finland has increased since the blocking measures were last studied in 2014.

Acceptance of credit card payments for gambling purposes could result in debts

The pilot study also analyses the needs for legislative amendments that concern expansion of the player’s possibilities to prohibit his or her own gambling, the options of using various payment methods, shortening the time for the collection of winnings, and stronger channelling capacity for Veikkaus Oy. Channelling means steering the demand for gambling towards permitted and regulated alternatives.

At present, gambling prohibitions set on players’ own initiative work in practice in Veikkaus Oy’s casinos and online gaming. The pilot study proposes that prohibition options could be developed for games played in game rooms. It would be possible to check at the entrance whether the player has a gambling prohibition in force. Barring entrance would require a legislative amendment and a customer register.

Games operated by Veikkaus Oy cannot be paid for with credit cards. According to the pilot study, allowing credit card payment in gambling could lead to indebtedness.

In order to clarify legislation, a uniform expiry period could be adopted for the collection of various gambling winnings. If the period for collecting winnings were made shorter, playing while identified might become more common.

The pilot study includes a separate report on Veikkaus Oy’s preconditions for international operations under EU law concerning the development of games and pooled gaming. Under certain circumstances, such cooperation can also be possible in a monopoly system. Then the aim for cooperation must be to channel the demand to Veikkaus Oy’s game offerings.

The study is based on the Government’s commission to revise the Lotteries Act

The pilot study was conducted by civil servants in the Ministry of the Interior without setting up a specific working group. In the course of the work, there has been extensive consultation with experts in various fields. Any further action will depend on the policies of the future Government.

The study was part of a legislative and pilot study project on reform of the Lotteries Act, which was based on the Government’s policies. The government proposal for mandatory identification in slot machine gambling was prepared in the first part of the project. The provisions on mandatory identification will enter into force on 1 January 2022.

The previous amendment to the Lotteries Act focused on merging gaming corporations. The new Veikkaus started operations at the beginning of 2017.

Inquiries:

Ministerial Adviser Jukka Tukia, tel. +358 295 488 573, [email protected]
Ministerial Adviser Elina Rydman, tel. +358 295 488 586, [email protected]