The state of gambling in Finland now and in the future

  • 2023-12-20

Finland has maintained a gambling monopoly, with Veikkaus being the sole entity authorized to offer and advertise games in Mainland Finland. However, many consider a long-awaited change to be on the horizon, no later than 2026, when Veikkaus' monopoly will end, and Finland will transition to a licensing system.

But what is the current state of gambling in Finland, and how will it change with the downfall of the monopoly? Furthermore, how will the licensing system impact online casino gambling?

Veikkaus holds exclusive rights to gambling within Finland's borders

At present, Veikkaus enjoys exclusive rights to offer and advertise gambling within the borders of Finland. In other words, online casinos operating from abroad have not been allowed to conduct their operations in Finland or promote themselves through means like television, radio, or sports team sponsorships.

However, Finland's gambling monopoly has never prohibited Finns from playing on foreign online casinos. This has always been entirely permissible, as no law has ever banned it.

There are hundreds of online casinos operating abroad, attracting a number of Finnish players. Most of these casinos are registered in Malta, but there is also a variety of options in countries like Estonia and Curacao. 

Among these casinos, you can find ones that are entirely Finnish or cater specifically to Finnish players. Finnish casinos can legally offer their services to Finnish players as long as their headquarters are established outside the borders of Finland.

Many Finns prefer foreign online casinos over the monopoly company, and there's a clear reason for it. Unlike Veikkaus, foreign online casinos face competition, so each casino must strive to provide the best possible gaming experience to attract players to their platform. Fierce competition results in extensive game libraries, high return-to-player rates, diverse payment methods, casino bonuses, and rewarding loyalty programs, among other benefits.

On the other hand, one can only dream of receiving any advantages from the domestic monopoly company. The game selection is significantly smaller, and the available payment options are far more limited. Veikkaus also falls behind foreign online casinos when it comes to return-to-player rates.

A notable advantage of Maltese and Estonian online casinos is that they offer tax-free winnings for players in Finland. 

What does the Finnish gambling license mean in practice?

Talks about the Finnish gambling license have been ongoing for years, but finally, there is certainty about its implementation. The exact date is not set yet, but it is likely to come into effect no later than 2026.

In practical terms, the Finnish gambling license will mean that licensed casinos will be placed on the same level as Veikkaus, the state-owned gambling operator. This will open up free competition among online casinos.

The goal of the licensing system is to keep tax revenues within Finland's borders, as they are currently largely flowing abroad. Another objective is to increase responsible gambling, meaning maximizing supervision and minimizing gambling addiction.

The Finnish state will benefit from the license in several ways. Firstly, it will generate additional income for the state treasury through license fees. The government aims to bolster its financial resources, indicating that the license fee is likely to be substantial. Secondly, with the license, Finland can set the rules for its licensed casinos, enhancing their safety and responsibility further.

However, it is up to each casino to decide whether they want to apply for a Finnish gambling license or not. There is currently no information available regarding the exact cost of the Finnish license or the regulations set by the authorities, but it is clear that obtaining a Finnish license will not be free, and the regulations for casinos are likely to be relatively stringent.

So, why would anyone bother applying for a Finnish gambling license, given that it restricts casino operations and comes at a high cost? Simply put, it's due to the benefits of free competition. Every online casino that applies for and obtains a Finnish license will be on equal footing with Veikkaus. 

The change in regulations allowing casinos to offer and advertise their gambling services in Mainland Finland, like Veikkaus, is a significant shift in the Finnish gambling market. This liberalization of marketing will likely increase the visibility of casinos, potentially attracting a larger customer base. Additionally, casinos now have the option to relocate their headquarters to Finland, which could further integrate them into the local market.

Most likely, casino comparison sites will play a big part in this new marketing landscape. Websites like, which currently focus on foreign casinos, are expected to start listing Finnish licensed casinos instead. This shift will have a considerable impact on how casinos are promoted and how consumers make their choices in the Finnish gambling market.

How does the gambling license affect players?

From a player's perspective, the Finnish gambling license may have both positive and negative effects, depending on one's viewpoint.

Casinos operating under a Finnish license will most likely be subject to stricter regulations. These tighter rules could deter some players, while, conversely, loyal Veikkaus fans may gain access to new gaming platforms when they finally venture onto other Finnish-regulated gambling sites.

It is also quite possible that Finland will follow Sweden's example in terms of the licensing system. In Sweden, with the introduction of the licensing system in 2019, casinos that have not obtained a Swedish license have had several commonly used payment methods blocked, such as Trustly, Zimpler, and Brite. 

Naturally, this has significantly reduced the offerings of instant casinos, as bank transfers are the only available payment method on these sites. Whether Finland will follow Sweden's lead in this matter is still a question mark.

Another potential consequence could be a reduction in the bonuses offered by online casinos. For example, players may have access to only one bonus, and various VIP bonuses might disappear from the market entirely, as they encourage players to gamble more and with larger sums of money.

It is also highly likely that the number of Curacao-based casinos will decrease, as fewer Curacao casinos are likely to bother obtaining a Finnish gambling license. Finnish players are not often the primary customer base for these casinos. On the positive side, this means that only the highest-quality online casinos will remain accessible to Finnish players, and with the licensing system in place, the last remaining shady casinos will be out of reach.