What You Need to Know about Casino Industry in Finland

Saturday 11th April 2020

Although the gambling industry is thriving, poised to grow at a CAGR of 8.77 percent until 2024, countries' attitude to casinos varies. Some of them, like the United Kingdom, enthusiastically uphold both land-based and online casinos and invest millions in sports betting. Others, like Canada, are open-minded about gambling but administer different betting laws in every province: although brick and mortar casinos are not a rarity in Canada, you will not find them in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, where they are illegal.

In the US, likewise, casinos are not legalized in every state, but the country's general attitude to online gambling is positive, since it provides US government with billions in tax revenue.

Still other countries - North Korea, Singapore, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ecuador - enforce anti-gambling laws. Other countries shuttle between allowing and forbidding gambling, giving preferences either to its online or land-based forms. Ireland, for example, bans online betting but welcomes gamblers to its land-based casinos. Italy and Latvia discriminate between different types of online betting. Poland forbids all kinds of online betting apart from sports betting.

There is also one country whose attitude to a casino, or as they say in Finnish "kasino," is exceptional - Finland. Unlike other countries which exhibit a different degree of tolerance of casinos but, in principle, are always critical of betting, Finland considers gambling a virtue. For the Finns, gambling is the demonstration of their patriotism.

This upbeat approach to games of chance has been growing in the country since the 1920s, when gambling was viewed as a tool to boost people's nationalism. Because in those times gambling was outlawed in Finland, players travelled to try their luck to neighboring Sweden, where casinos were legal. Unwilling to benefit Sweden, with whom it then argued over the Aland Islands, the Finnish government legalized betting on horse racing and gave a green light to money lotteries.

By encouraging citizens to bet at home, the government intended to strengthen their national identity. With the association of gambling and patriotism hardwired in their brains, the Finns now gamble with gusto and consider gambling their duty.

The casino industry has been blossoming in Finland for many years, surging in particular during the last several decades, when online gambling became people's favorite pastime. In Q1 2018, Veikkaus, the Finnish national betting agency, reported a 10 percent jump in virtual gambling.

Net sales in the gambling industry the same year reached 805.6 million euro. In 2019, in the third quarter, the industry's profit was 762.2 million euro. Almost 43 percent from this turnover came from online casinos. The Lotto was also profitable: its turnover between January and September 2019 was 267.4 million euro.

When people want to gamble in Finland, they either go to one of the land-based casinos or stay at home wagering online. One of the largest brick-and-mortar casinos is located in the capital. Casino Helsinki offers to visitors 300 slot machines with various themes. There are also 20 game tables, where gamblers can play Blackjack and Roulette. Or they can sit down at a table to play Poker or Baccarat and enjoy Poker Tournaments.

The second favorite casino in Finland is located in Mariehamn, though some seasoned gamblers snub its smaller choice of slot machines and game tables.

Those gamblers who prefer wagering while sitting at home have a rich arsenal of online betting website at their disposal. Local virtual casinos in Finland are operated by PAF and RAY, the Finnish Slot Machine Association. These casinos are fully licensed and highly secure. The government takes all required measures to protect people's data.

There are rumors that in several years, online gambling will become even more secure: gamblers will be able to wager only if they open a Veikkaus gaming account. Restrictions might also be put on money transfers to foreign unlicensed operators. Meanwhile, however, Finnish gamblers can easily access any unlicensed foreign platform and bet with them. Such foreign betting websites as 888 casino, Genesis Casino, Jackpot Village, and LeoVegas offer Finnish players poker games, scratch cards, lottery, sports betting, esports, roulettes, and themed slots.

Finnish citizens also try to win a fortune in Veikkaus Lotto. More than 80 percent of Finns play lottery every week. They even start doing this earlier in their lives than people in other countries. Whereas in order to gamble online, people need to be 18 years old, they are permitted to buy a lottery ticket when they are only 15.

Veikkaus Lotto is so beloved in the country that the government has even decided to apply no restrictions to it in its new version of the Act on Lotteries. People will be allowed to play lottery without a Veikkaus gaming account.

Veikkaus lottery is a traditional jackpot, 7/39 lotto game. That is, people choose 7 numbers from 1 to 39. Three bonus numbers are also drawn and determine the second prize. Those who correctly select 7 numbers hit the jackpot. The smallest prize is given to those people who guess 4 numbers right. Veikkaus Lotto is played every week. Drawings are held on Saturdays and broadcast live at 20:45. There are also numerous lotteries online, which people can play even more often.

The gaming industry is thriving in Finland. With further development of online casinos and amendments made in the Act on Lotteries, it is expected to flourish even more profitably.

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