Most forms of gambling in Finland are legal (both online and land-based gambling activities) and a large percentage of the population gamble regularly. Gambling in Finland, however, is tightly regulated by a government-controlled monopoly which originally consisted of three state-run companies. These eventually merged to become one entity known as Veikkaus. Some of the major forms of gambling in Finland that people have access to at the time of writing include a National Lottery, sports betting, instant win games, bingo, fantasy sports, online casino games and online poker.
Gambling History in Finland
The government-controlled gambling monopoly has been in place for more than 70 years, since before the second world war, and it has always been an inhospitable environment for foreign operators. Finland’s first Slot Machine Association RAY, short for Raha-automaattiyhdisty, was established in 1938. Next, it was Veikkaus Oy, the Finnish National Lottery, and Fintoto Oy, a horse racing-specific pari-mutuel betting operator.
Online gambling in Finland has been legal since 1996 when Veikkaus Oy became the first licensed operator to offer real money online gambling services. The main gambling website with online casino games was a website called Play Among Friends (PAF) which established in 2007. In 2010 the European Commission requested that Finland make changes to their gambling regulations that would make it more compliant with EU laws, but despite pressure from the EU there has been little change.
It was as recently as January 2017 when the Finish government announced the merger of RAY, Veikkaus and Fintoto under the name Veikkau and all gambling activities continue to remain regulated and controlled by the state with profits going straight back into the country rather than to foreign operators. However, to this day Finnish players can still play at foreign controlled gambling websites.
Finland Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
Finland has been classified as being one of the top ten largest gambling nations in the world, and this is why so many foreign operators are desperate to tap into the market. However, in 2010 legislation was passed by the Finnish government that basically tightened the state-controlled monopoly grip even further by prohibiting foreign operators using Finnish publications or Finnish broadcast outlets to advertise their gambling products towards people living in Finland. Foreign operators still can’t even use the domain .fi.
Despite this, operators of foreign-controlled online casinos and other gambling websites do still accept real cash wagers from Finnish players, and there are no laws in place the prevent Finnish players from signing up to these websites and gambling in the real money mode at them. Many Finns gamble at PAF, which operates out of the Åland Islands licensing jurisdiction, an autonomous Swedish-speaking region that falls under Finland’s rule. Although the government continues to try and deter its citizens from gambling at foreign-owned sites, there’s no legal framework in place to prevent them from playing at them, and each day more and more Finns continue to do so.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from Finland
Finnish players can now play at some of the world’s best online casinos with games from some of the most advanced online casino software providers. Home-grown gambling sites like PAF and foreign-owned online casinos that operate from outside of Finnish borders are controlled by some of the most trusted names from the online and offline gambling industries, they are always free to sign up to, and they welcome most major Finnish online payment options. You can also play at these sites in your own local currency of Euros.
In addition to supporting the English language, almost all online casinos that accept real cash wagers from Finnish players also support the Finnish language, Suomi. Finnish players can benefit from some amazing bonus offers and rewarding loyalty programs, and they can enjoy playing on the games either in the real money mode or in the free play demo mode. Finnish online casinos are generally available across multiple platforms and this means you have the option of being able to play at these casinos from most smartphone and tablet devices, or any decent Windows or Mac operating desktop or laptop computer.
FAQ Useful to Players from Finland
Are online casinos that aren’t licensed in Finland secure?
Yes, especially online casinos that are licensed in the UK, Alderney, Gibraltar or Malta where the licensing authorities impose strict controls over their licensees.
Am I breaking any laws by playing at foreign-owned online casinos?
No. There aren’t currently any laws in Finland that prohibit players from gambling in the real money mode at online casinos that operate from outside of Finland, so you don’t have to worry about the authorities coming after you.
How do I know these casinos are safe?
They are controlled by reputable operators with proven track records, they are protected by 256-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology, and they are audited and monitored by trusted online casino testing agencies.
How do I deposit & withdraw at online casinos?
Most online casinos accept a wide range of popular Finnish online payment options including credit & debit cards, prepaid cards, e-wallets and other reliable methods.
Do foreign online casinos accept Euros and are languages other than English supported?
Most major languages, including Suomi, are accepted at foreign-owned online casinos, and Euros are generally always accepted.
Online Gambling Highlights in Finland
- Players have access to state-controlled gambling websites AND hundreds of foreign-owned websites that operate from outside of Finnish jurisdiction
- Play in your own local currency of Euros and deposit & withdraw at these casinos using your preferred Finnish online payment methods
- Receive a guaranteed new player welcome bonus when you sign up and deposit for the very first time
- Also look forward to additional bonus offers, frequent, ongoing promotions and attractive rewards programs
- 24-hour support and multiple language options available for Finnish players
- Many of today’s Finnish online casinos are powered by multiple award-winning online casino software providers
- Play at these casinos on desktop or mobile and instantly in your web browser or from within a secure download client
- Licensed and regulated by major licensing authorities and controlled by reputable operators
- Play to win some of today’s biggest online jackpots and can count on instant deposits and rapid withdrawals
Problem Gambling Help in Finland
There are plenty of online and land-based services available nationwide for problem gamblers and these non-profit organizations offer free and confidential support and advice. Finnish players can also look to other countries that also provide similar problem gambling organizations. There’s Peluuri which offers peer support, self-help tools and tips and ways to control gambling, plus there are several other major institutions such as Gamblers Anonymous (Gamblers Anonymous-ryhmä), Peluuri, Gamble Support, GamCare and Gambleaware, to name but a few trusted organizations.
Frequent population surveys concerning Finnish gambling activities are also conducted to learn the extent of gambling problems in the country and similar surveys are even carried out at schools to learn more about the true extent of underage gambling. You can also find useful online forums, eCounselling sessions that you can attend, toll-free telephone helplines and various other support methods for problem gamblers in Finland.