Gambling in Finland

Gambling as a source of fun

Nowadays there is a great choice of gambling options. There are casinos, gambling halls and online casinos. In Finland around one third of all adult population participates in gambling every week. In the 1920s the lottery was legalized, this was done with the aim to make Finns refuse from playing Swedish lotteries and sending money to them. When World War II was over, football pools were practiced in order to support the feeling of unity and face the threats of communism. The survey, conducted in 2016, showed that 83% of people in Finland gamble at least once a year.

Source: International Gambling Conference, 2018

Why people like gambling

There are several reasons, why people like the process of gambling. First of all it brings fun and it is exciting. When people visit casinos, they are granted with a lot of emotions and energy. Somebody wants to relax or change the atmosphere, others are striving for tension and adrenaline rush.
Gambling is always associated with money, it seems easy to earn a big jackpot. Everybody wants to believe that he will be the only happy person to win it. The variety of games attracts different people. There are hundreds of options, as there are different games available, in addition it is possible to choose between usual and online versions.

Important aspects to consider for gamblers

Gambling looks attractive, but still this is a game of chance. Realization of this fact could help a lot of gamblers get rid of unnecessary expectations about financial issues. It is important to remember that casinos are always long-term winners, otherwise there is no reason to launch this business at all.

Individuals should be discouraged from treating gambling as the way to earn money for paying the bills. There are enough stories of professional gamblers, but they are always exaggerated and nobody is able to use gambling as profession or regular option for earning money.

Legislation as a method of preventing harm from gambling

Veikkaus Oy is the state monopoly on gambling in Finland, which operates for more than 70 years already. The state monopoly was created with the aim to reduce the possible negative effects of gambling upon citizens of the country. Profits from gambling are used for promotion of sport, education, art and healthy way of living. The average annual revenue from gambling makes EUR 1.1 billion.

Lotteries Act in Finland

The Lotteries Act was issued with the aim to regulate gambling in Finland. The major purpose of this legislation is to secure legal protection for gamblers, to avoid the situations of misuse or prevent various forms of criminal activity, which could be related to gambling. Also one of the purposes of the Act is to manage the negative social outcomes of gambling, related to health of the players.

The rules for gambling are regulated with the help of government decree. It is needed for regulating of the payment of wins procedures, the number of slot machines, their location and work hours. Additional monitoring is conducted by the National Police Board.

Gambling marketing restrictions

 Veikkaus Oy has the right to market gambling, and this is done in the corresponding responsible manner. In other words the focus is made upon the legal games for Finland. It is not allowed to market such games, which could bring negative effects, for example betting or slot machines for the places, which are not foreseen for these activities.

Gambling marketing restrictions in Finland

Online gambling at official sites

The only legal gambling sites in Finland are PAF and RAY. PAF has the monopoly rights for online gaming in the Aland Province, the Finnish mainland is controlled by RAY. The European Commission demands abolishing of the government monopoly for online gambling, as it is too restrictive for foreign companies. However, Finland continues to sustain the position of government monopoly.

It is legally forbidden for foreign online sites to offer gambling services in Finland. But the problem is that there are no effective mechanisms for restricting and blocking of these sites, which are ready to get money from gamblers from Finland. For example such well-known companies as Bet365, 888 and nettikasinot accept participation of Finnish players.

Advertising of unlicensed gambling facilities is prohibited in Finnish media, still this does not prevent the citizens of the country from visiting and using of unlicensed gaming sites.


PAF is responsible for online gambling in the Aland Islands and it was the first operator, which managed to provide a wide range of bingo games and casino options via its website starting form 2007. This situation led to the conflict between PAF and RAY.


RAY online casino was created in 2010, when RAY received its legal rights to regulate the online gambling sphere in the region. RAY website could be used by all citizens of Finland. All the outside gambling services are considered illegal.

Share of online gamblers in Finland by gender

The statistical data regarding female and male gamblers was collected in 2017. It showed that 27% of male population of the country played online gambling games during the year. The number of females during the same period turned out to be nearly 20% less.

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