Finland issues decree drastically reducing loss limits for online casino services

This limit will be applicable for online casino services as a new COVID-19 directive

Finland’s online gamblers will now be subjected to a strict monthly loss limit of €500 for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum daily loss per player has been halved from €1,000 to €500, which means that a player would be unable to gamble for the rest of the month should they lose the maximum in a day.

Maria Ohisalo, Finnish Ministry of the Interior, said the new limits were necessary to reduce the potential for gambling harm.

The online limits, which will take effect on May 1st and extend through at least September 30, will apply to eBingo, virtual betting and online slots and table games (excluding poker). 

The monopoly operator Veikkaus  has also announced that Lottery draws will be suspended entirely.

Veikkaus director of legal and social responsibility Pekka Ilmivalta said that the company had made the necessary technical changes and would be able to enforce the limits from the dates set out by the Ministry. 

Maria Ohisalo of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior said the new limits were necessary to reduce the potential for gambling harm and would persist even if the pandemic threat recedes before September 30, based on her belief that “consumers’ financial difficulties as a result of the epidemic are likely to continue for longer.” 

The limits, which follow similar proposals in Sweden, are a further blow to Veikkaus’ operations.

The operator estimated that it had lost out on around €60m in revenue since the start of the pandemic. Further Veikkaus stated that there had been little evidence of its customer base migrating online, with online casino revenue only up by around €1.5m since social distancing measures were brought into force. 

The operator is preparing to furlough the majority of its retail staff, with up to 675 employees to be laid off temporarily. 

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