Gambling activities are operated by the state-controlled company Veikkaus Ltd. There has been a state monopoly on gambling in Finland for over 70 years. The gambling operations of Veikkaus (the Finnish lottery operator), 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 negative social and health effects of money games 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. Revenue from betting on horse racing is used to promote 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 abuse and crime, and to mitigate the social and health effects that arise 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 gaming machines, special gaming machines, casino games, special game rooms and casinos, and their locations and opening hours.

The National Police Board supervises the implementation of gambling games at national level.

Gambling is for adults only

Minors may not play gambling games and such games are not sold on credit. The Lottery Act stipulates a minimum age for playing gambling games, in order to protect minors from the adverse effects of gambling. Players can also set playing limitations for themselves. Veikkaus Ltd and the authorities may also set limitations 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 Ltd requires registration in order to ensure the identification of gamblers.

In addition to Veikkaus Ltd, 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 Ltd, 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 gaming machines, which are associated with a clear risk of negative effects, is prohibited in places other than designated gaming arcades, casinos and trotting tracks. Despite the marketing ban, information may be provided on what is being bet on, where the gaming is to take place, any terms and conditions which may apply, how much it costs to participate, what the probability of winning is, and how much may be won.

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