Players will often hear of a major progressive jackpot cash prize being won by a Finnish player at an online casino site. Players from the country have won many of them over the years. With that in mind, it is evident that gambling in Finland is legal. How legal, though? Despite it having one of the most notable gambling populations in the world, only a handful of actual Finnish casinos are existence. You’d never be able to tell, though. How and why? Let’s find out…
Is Online Gambling Legal in Finland?
Firstly, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Online gambling is legal in Finland. Moreover, all forms of gambling are legal. Of course, there are rules which need to be adhered to. Chief amongst those is that only Finnish licensed casinos technically have the right to offer their services to players in the country.
All forms of sports gambling are heavily regulated by a monopoly known as Veikkaus, except for horse racing, which is run by Fintoto. Online casino gambling falls under the jurisdiction of RAY, while PAF also has a monopoly which is broad and covers several other areas alongside those already mentioned.
Any operator which wishes to legally obtain a license to offer their services to Finnish players is going to be out of luck. The Finnish gambling laws quite specifically state that the only entities permitted to obtain Finnish gambling licenses must be one of the four monopolies already mentioned. This puts Finland on a collision course with the EU, who do not approve of monopolies. Despite that, the EU has never punished Finland (or the many other EU member states) for flouting those rules. If you are playing at a casino run by one of the four monopolies, everything is legal.
Finnish Online Casinos
All legal and licensed Finnish online casinos will belong to one of the four monopolies listed above and be fully regulated and run by them. They will naturally offer gameplay in Finnish (a few do offer English services to expats or non-Finnish speakers), and the euro is the currency which is offered at this site. Finland doesn’t really have any major software providers of its own, so most of the games found at their sites come from neighboring Scandinavian casino software providers, such as Net Entertainment and Yggdrasil Gaming.
From what you have read so far, it does sound as though the entire Finnish gambling population plays at just a handful of casinos run by the companies already mentioned. However, nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, many of the wagers made by Finnish players don’t go into the pockets of those monopolies at all, but into offshore casinos. Here is the truth behind the Finnish online casino gaming industry…
Offshore Casino Sites for Finnish Players
Although only those four casinos can apply for Finnish gambling licenses, Finnish players prefer to play at offshore casinos, where the collection of games are greater and the services equally adept at offering quality gaming to Finns. By definition, these offshore casinos are simply any online casinos which cater to a Finnish gaming audience but are not officially registered in Finland or licensed to provide games to those players.
There are hundreds of offshore casinos out there which accept Finnish players. They even go as far as offering the Finnish language and customer support options. Some even provide payment methods which are ideal to Finns. Finnish players gamble so frequently that the market is considered far too lucrative for offshore or foreign casinos to miss out on.
How can this be? Finland doesn’t actually crack down on offshore casinos. They do not punish Finnish players for playing at offshore casinos, and they don’t attempt to prosecute international operators for accepting them. The Finnish gambling authorities don’t even block access to foreign sites in many cases. In effect, then, players in Finland can do as they wish.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
For the monopolies, the current status of the Finnish gambling laws is both a blessing and frustrating. They are delighted that offshore casinos cannot obtain Finnish gambling licenses but are equally as unimpressed that Finnish players can still access foreign sites. They do apply pressure to try and alter the position of the Finnish Government but have thus far been unsuccessful.
There may come a day when Finland does alter its laws, but the day is unlikely to see the monopolies win. The EU is fiercely opposed to monopolies as mentioned, so if any changes are forthcoming, they will likely see a general opening of the Finnish market. In all probability, this would see offshore casinos invited to claim Finnish gambling licenses and the end of the monopoly-era of Finnish gambling.
Top Finnish Casino Sites
Given that Finnish players are free to play at local Finnish casino sites as well as virtually any domain they wish from outside of the country, Finns are spoilt for choice. Of course, playing at an online casino which offers them gaming in Finnish, customer support and payment methods which work for them, and a vast array of games is always advantageous.
Quite a few top casino sites are out there which can fulfill these criteria. These include Spela, Luck Land, Casumo, BetWay Casino, 21 Casino, Ahti Games, Rizk Casino, Dunder Casino and Yako Casino virtually any other respected and well-known gambling portal.