Online Gaming in Finland

Finland's domestically regulated online gaming market has evolved over the years, but it continues to be inhospitable to foreign operators.

For years, the only online gaming site licensed in Finland was PAF, which operates out of the Åland Islands, an autonomous Swedish-speaking region. Residents of Finland were allowed to play.

PAF offers casino games, a poker room, bingo and an online sportsbook. PAF's status as the sole licensed provider of online gaming in Finland rankled the Finnish Slot Machine Association (RAY) and the Finnish state lottery, Veikkaus Oy.

In 2010, Finland's government finally bowed to pressure from the state-owned monopoly RAY and gave it permission to expand into online casino and poker gambling. Veikkaus Oy was approved to offer online bingo and numbers games.

Veikkaus Oy also offers sports betting and online lottery and was the second of the three state monopolies allowed to operate online gaming in mainland Finland. Fintoto, which offers race betting, is the third. The company provides 20 different kinds of games, and most of its revenues are derived from the national lottery, which is extremely popular among the Finnish population.

The Finnish government has also tried to stack the deck in favor of the state-run monopolies. The Finnish Gaming Law, approved in June 2010, forbids foreign-owned gaming providers from advertising their products through Finnish publications and broadcast outlets or from .fi domains. It's a criminal offense punishable by fines and possible prison sentences of up to two years for both media and gaming companies. However, the law has a loophole and cannot prohibit publications being imported to Finland from containing such gambling advertisements.

In March 2015, several Finnish politicians called for a review of the country's online gambling activities on the premise that the current laws do not regulate foreign sites enough in terms of their advertising and marketing practices. The government has not announced an official review, however.

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