New Proposed Finnish Gambling and Lottery Act

Identification, marketing, payments and land-based slot machines are the four key areas of the reform


Finland is to usher in new rules for the gambling industry. The Nordic country will reform its Lottery Act in a move aimed at reducing gambling-related harm. The Finnish government put forward its proposal for the reform to parliament on 23 September 2021.

The reform touches upon four areas, namely identification, marketing, payments and land-based slot machines. In keeping with Government policy for the sector, the nation’s gambling system will continue to be based on Veikkaus Oy, Finland's state-owned gambling monopoly.

Compulsory identification is necessary for the state to ensure that gambling remains for adults only, and to protect minors below the age of 18 from the harm caused by gambling. It also enables targeted restrictions and gambling blocks to be introduced in all of Veikkaus Oy’s gambling products.

A reformed Lottery Act would gradually extend compulsory identification to cover all of the monopoly’s games. All gambling activities would require compulsory identification by 2023, and scratch cards by no later than in 2024.

All Finnish online casino players are required to identify themselves in order to confirm their age, and also to verify their place of residence. From 2021, users of slot machines in public locations also need to identify themselves. Shops, kiosks and other outlets that provide the space for slot machines are held responsible, together with Veikkaus Oy, for ensuring full observance of the age limit requirements for users, under pain of criminal liability.

With regards to marketing, the proposed Act would introduce new rules specifying what would be considered acceptable content and form. It would stipulate that moderation be observed in the marketing of gambling activities in general, while advertising of particularly harmful games of chance, such as slot machines, would be banned.

It would be compulsory for printed or otherwise visual advertisements to carry information about the age limit for gambling, the option to impose a gambling block on oneself, and the availability of services offering help in the case of gambling problems.

The reform also envisages greater monitoring of compliance with the Act’s marketing requirements, and would empower the National Police Board to recommend an administrative penalty for violations. The National Police Board could also prohibit proven offenders from marketing gambling activities.

Active prevention of gambling outside the monopoly system would also be put in place, with special provisions that would enable the barring of certain payment transactions. Starting in early 2023, gambling companies whose marketing has been prohibited by the National Police Board could see their transactions blocked.

Veikkaus would be required to place its slot machines in locations where their use can be easily and effectively monitored, most importantly taking into consideration the protection of minors and vulnerable persons. Under the new set of rules, both Veikkaus and the entities that house the slot machines would be required to present a system for managing the use of the machines, with appropriate procedures for ensuring the prevention of the harm caused by gambling.

The reform would enable Veikkaus to set up a subsidiary to offer gambling products and services to other businesses. Such an entity would not, however, be allowed to provide gambling services to consumers.

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