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.

The state monopoly is considered the best way to reduce the negative economic, social and health effects of gambling and to prevent 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, combat misuse and crime, and prevent and reduce the negative economic, social and health-related effects of 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. Government proposal on the reform was submitted to Parliament 23 September 2021.

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.  Restrictions on the management of online gambling games are laid down by decree of the Ministry of the Interior.

Players can also set restrictions for themselves, and Veikkaus Oy may set restrictions on gambling.

Players of online gambling games must identify themselves in order to confirm that they are 18 years of age or older and to verify their place of residence. Starting in 2021, players will also need to identify themselves when using slot machines in public locations. Veikkaus Oy requires registration to ensure the identification of gamblers. One of the objectives of the reform of the Lotteries Act is to extend the identification requirement to all of Veikkaus Oy’s gambling games.

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.

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 may promote the company and gambling activities through marketing if this is done in a responsible manner and if the demand for gambling is directed towards gambling services that are provided by Veikkaus Oy under the Lotteries Act.

Veikkaus Oy may promote the company and gambling activities through marketing if this is done in a responsible manner and if the demand for gambling is directed towards gambling services that are provided by Veikkaus Oy under the Lotteries Act. 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.

Marketing of gambling operations other than those provided by Veikkaus Oy is prohibited.

More information

Jukka Tukia, Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of the Interior, Police Department, Legislative Affairs
+358 295 488 573, [email protected] 

Elina Rydman, Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of the Interior, Police Department, Legislative Affairs
+358 295 488 586, [email protected]