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EBGA calls Finland to fix its gambling policy

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has made an inquest for Finland to reassess its gambling policy

EGBA logoOn 17 December 2020, the EGBA issued a public letter to the Finnish government titled: 'Dear Santa, Can Finland Please Fix Its Gambling Policy?'.

The EGBA have issued an ultimatum, "stick with the failings of the current policy and its monopoly system, or change course".

Maarten Haijer, secretary-general of EGBA, highlighted that Finland is the only member of the European Union to have a gambling monopoly. He states: “Yet these days you are more likely to hear criticisms of Veikkaus and its prevalence across Finnish society".

The call for action comes during a time when public is leaning towards alternative forms of gambling; triggered by the monopoly system online

Haijer adds:

Maarten-HaijerThis means that more choice or alternatives to Veikkaus can easily found on the internet with international betting websites. A recent survey showed that last year 16.4% of Finland’s online gambling revenue, equivalent to €105m in taxable revenue, was spent by Finns on international betting websites which pay their taxes elsewhere,

Additionally, the EGBA also argue that "It’s a myth that Finland’s gamblers are better protected by a monopoly" and hence don't see a purpose of keeping an online monopoly.

Haijer adds:

Replacing the monopoly with an open-licensing system is not about getting more people in Finland to gamble, nor is it about killing off Veikkaus,” he said. “Rather, it is the sensible way to meet the demands of those Finnish gamblers who seek an alternative to the monopoly and currently gamble on international gambling websites – and to regulate and tax this activity.

Maarten-HaijerIntroducing open-licensing for online gambling is not revolutionary, it is evolutionary, and will ensure that most Finns gamble in a regulated and protected environment. But adapted to the realities of our times.

He concludes:

All other EU countries have already done this, it makes sense, and it’s time for Finland to do the same.

In recent news, Veikkaus has announced that ID verification controls will be mandatory  for slot machines starting 12 January 2021.

Sources:  EGBA  and European Gaming

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