Legislation helps to prevent gambling-related harm

Gambling services are provided by the state-owned company Veikkaus Oy. There has been a state monopoly on gambling in Finland for over 70 years. The gambling operations of Veikkaus Oy, RAY (the Finnish Slot Machine Association) and Fintoto were merged into one company on 1 January 2017.

A state monopoly is the most effective way of reducing the social and health-related harm resulting from gambling and preventing misuse.

Gambling profits are used to support public interest activities, based on funding for and the promotion of sports and physical education, science, art, youth work, health and social wellbeing, horse breeding and equestrian sports. The annual revenue from gambling amounts to EUR 1.1 billion.

Lotteries Act regulates gambling

In Finland, gambling is regulated by the Lotteries Act. The purpose of the Lotteries Act is to ensure the legal protection of gamblers, to prevent misuse and crime, and to reduce the social and health-related harm resulting from gambling.
The Ministry of the Interior affirms the rules governing gambling via a decree. A government decree regulates the wins paid to players, rounding off wins, the maximum number of slot machines, specialty gaming machines, casino games and specific game rooms, and the number of casinos, their locations and opening hours.

The National Police Board is responsible for national monitoring of the provision of gambling services.

Project to examine reform of the Lotteries Act

The Ministry of the Interior launched a project to reform the Lotteries Act in January 2020. The aim of the project is, among other things, to examine the need to reform the Lotteries Act, in particular to further improve the prevention and reduction of harm caused by gambling.

Gambling is for adults only

Minors may not play gambling games and such games are not sold on credit. The Lotteries Act stipulates a minimum age of 18 for playing gambling games, in order to protect minors from the adverse effects of gambling. Players can also set restrictions for themselves. Veikkaus Oy and the authorities may also set restrictions on gambling.

In the case of online gambling, the identity and place of residence of players must be checked to ascertain whether they are adults. Veikkaus Oy requires registration to ensure the identification of gamblers.

In addition to Veikkaus Oy, establishments providing space for slot machines — such as shops and kiosks — must monitor compliance with the age limit. Negligence in monitoring compliance with the age limit may lead to criminal liability for all of the parties involved.

Restrictions in gambling marketing

Gambling may not be marketed to minors and marketing may not be used to attribute a positive image to heavy and frequent gambling. Veikkaus Oy, which operates a gambling monopoly, may market gambling games and itself if it does so in a responsible manner, with the intention of focusing demand on games that are legal in Finland.

The marketing of games such as betting and slot machines, which are associated with a clear risk of negative effects, is prohibited in places other than specific game rooms, casinos and trotting tracks. Despite the prohibition on marketing, information may be provided about betting events, locations, terms and fees, the probability of winning, and the winnings relating to such games.