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EGBA backs Finland’s “milestone” gambling reforms

| By Richard Mulligan
EGBA has given its backing to Finland’s plans to end its online gambling monopoly and establish a licensing system.

The group, which represents Europe’s leading gambling businesses, welcomed the legislative project announced by Finland’s interior ministry earlier this week. The Orpo administration said the project is focused on delivering a licensed framework for online gambling by 2026.

EGBA described the announcement as a “crucial milestone” for the only EU member state still operating an exclusive monopoly regime. It 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.

“This is a welcome step towards meaningful and overdue gambling reform in Finland,” said Maarten Haijer, EGBA’s secretary-general.

“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 of 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.”

Widespread support for reform in Finland

This week’s announcement came in the wake of a report published earlier this year that found overwhelming support for regulated gambling.

The legislative project aims to draft necessary proposals for the reformation of the gambling system. The proposals will cover matters such as the gambling activities to be included in the system. Licence fees, taxation, safer gambling rules, prevention of gambling-related harm and advertising regulation will also be covered. The project, which will run until the end of December 2025, aims to publish a legislative proposal in the spring of 2025.

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.

Despite predicting widespread job losses, Veikkaus has offered its backing to the project.

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

“The government programme 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.”

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