EGBA backs Finland’s plan to end online gambling monopoly and establish a licensing system

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has expressed its support to Finland’s Ministry of the Interior in its plan to end the country’s online gambling monopoly and establish a licensing system. EGBA described the move as a “crucial milestone” for the only EU member state still operating an exclusive monopoly regime.

Earlier this week, the Ministry announced a legislative project to reform the country’s gambling monopoly system by introducing a licensing system for online gambling, including casino games and betting activities. EGBA, which represents Europe’s leading gambling businesses, said it fully supports the government’s objectives, including the enhancement of player protection. EGBA contended the multi-licensing system will increase tax revenues, create a level playing field, and enable more effective oversight. 

The legislative project aims to draft necessary proposals for the reformation of the gambling system. The proposals will cover various aspects, including the gambling activities to be included in the license system, license fees, taxation, safer gambling rules, prevention of gambling harm, and advertising regulation. The project runs until 31 December 2025 and aims to conclude with a legislative proposal in spring 2025.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA, said: “This is a welcome step towards meaningful and overdue gambling reform in Finland. The introduction of multi-licensing would provide greater choice and safeguards to Finnish consumers, ensure fairer competition between operators, and enable the Finnish authorities to have greater control over their online gambling market.”

With these changes in the Finnish legislation, all member states of the EU will now have some form of licensing regime for online gambling. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the Finnish Government and local stakeholders as the regulatory discussions develop,” he added.

Earlier this year, Finland’s Interior Ministry commissioned a report examining the future of online gambling, which saw overwhelming support for regulated gambling. Under the plan, state-owned Veikkaus will lose its monopoly within online casino games and online betting. Veikkaus will however retain its status for the lottery and retail slot machines, it is thought. Veikkaus has offered its backing to the project.

Veikkaus’ deputy CEO, Velipekka Nummikoski, said: “At Veikkaus, we give the project our full support. This is the biggest gambling reform in the history of Finland, with an ambitious schedule.”

“The government program has set clear starting points for the reform and it is good to proceed with them. Hopefully, a system will be created that effectively channels gambling into the licensed supply,” he noted.