Finland to Investigate Amending Gambling Legislation

29 June 2007

The Finnish government is reportedly organizing a group tasked with amending legislation and rules pertaining to the country's gambling monopoly in relation to EU rules.

Tampere-based daily Aamulehti reported Wednesday that certain elements of the country's monopoly--the way in which Fintoto and Veikkaus offered horse-betting services, for instance--contravene preliminary rulings issued by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Jouni Laiho, a legislative counselor at the interior ministry, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) that the aim of the project was to reform Finland's gambling legislation so that it would both address national needs and comply with European law.

"Even though the legislation is relatively new, there is no doubt that pressures to reform it are there," he said.

Laiho added, however, that even before the group was named gambling would not be "turned into a normal business." Moreover, he said, the "key line that gambling activities are carried out under monopoly rights shall not change."

The group is expected to begin its research this summer, the STT said.