The idea that Finland’s state-run gaming operator should be split is gaining momentum. The Veikkaus monopoly may be broken up in the coming government term, according to recent comments by Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen.
Veikkaus has previously acknowledged that the monopoly may not be in the best interest of Finland. Even a major political party, the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP), one of the monopoly’s staunch supporters, sees good aspects in moving to a licensing model.
A coalition of political parties says opinion polls clearly support breaking Veikkaus’ monopoly. If the coalition formed an alliance with the SDP, digital games could open up to foreign game companies through the licensing model.
Tearing Down the Walls
Should the monopoly end, the online casino and betting markets could open up to competition. Veikkaus would remain only in so-called proximity games, such as slot machines, lottery games, and Lotto.
I have expedited a study on the possible transition to a multi-permit system. It is only a good thing that the opposition also shares this view,” said Finnish Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen.
Matters related to lottery regulation are under the control of the SDP and the Minister of Local Government, Sirpa Paatero. The latter is also the chairman of the party council, so she speaks for the SDP.
Tuppurainen hopes that momentum will pick up soon, according to comments she provided to Norway’s MTV News in a recent interview. She’s hoping dedicated research on the subject can begin this month, with a response possible before parliamentary elections this April.
Member of Parliament Sari Multala of the Conservative Party supports the transition, as well. She is a part of a government coalition creating the possible gambling policies.
The political coalition has come together to agree on several points. In addition to a desire to move away from the monopoly, they admit that digital gaming is taking over and that a sole operator is hindering growth. As a result, more consumers are playing through offshore sites, and Finland isn’t receiving any financial benefits.
Finland’s Ministry of the Interior could weigh in on the review sometime this month.
Veikkaus Making Changes
With Veikkaus set to continue overseeing the lottery segment, it continues to introduce changes to offer a safer gaming experience. It recently announced that it will start requiring identification in all coupon games, like scratch-offs, this year.
In practice, this means that playing certain games could come to an end. Until now, many people bought a coupon for a particular lottery game from a kiosk or store, which they have shared among several players.
In the future, the lottery vendor will require identification from all members of the group. This will make purchasing a ticket more cumbersome and could turn some buyers away.
The background of the mandatory identification is the Lotteries Act, which entered into force at the beginning of 2022. That law requires identification for all gaming.
Veikkaus sees it as a requirement to help prevent gambling problems. The data can be used to identify at-risk gamblers, and the lottery operator also has the option to prevent the ID holder from gambling if necessary.
The deadline for the change is July 1, 2023.
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