Finnish Minister Says Government Should Launch Online Poker

22 January 2008

One Finnish minister thinks the country should follow the lead of monopolistic member states Austria and Sweden by offering its own online poker service, in an effort to lure resident bettors away from foreign competition.

According to Finnish media reports, the country's minister of culture and sport, Stefan Wallin, said that if one of Finland's three gambling monopolies assumed responsibility for launching an online poker offering, the revenue could be used to fund public services and fight gambling addiction.

"It is difficult to halt the rise in the popularity of online poker," said Wallin, who was quoted in today's edition of Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat. "It would be better to offer players a legal and responsible alternative."

Currently, the country's government, at the behest of Kari Passo, director of substance abuse and addictions at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, is investigating how to better regulate gambling within the framework of Finnish and European law.

Finland's monopolies over slots, toto and lotto are administered by Ray, Fintoto and Veikkaus, respectively.

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