Just like alcoholism, which has destroyed countless futures and fortunes, gambling is ruining lives in Finland. The Nordic country is being troubled by unregulated gambling perpetrated by foreign countries which are openly disregarding the country’s laws.
However, finally, the Finnish government under Prime minister Sanna Marin has hinted that it will be taking appropriate measures against the dangerous practice and the foreign companies involved in it. In Finland, a third of the adult population gambles every week. According to a survey conducted in 2016, 83% of Finns had gambled at least once in the previous year. Gambling is a very serious issue in Finland.
The state-owned gambling company of Veikkaus has the exclusive right to run all the gambling in Finland. In 2017, its revenue was estimated at $1.1 billion which was redistributed to sports, science, arts, health services and social welfare. The Finnish government depends hugely on revenue generated from gambling. Moreover, the revenue generated from gambling surged by 30% between 2006 and 2016 in Finland.
In neighbouring Norway too, there is a gambling problem. However, the government has implemented measures to end the menace. Now, following public outrage in Norway in the wake of a radio ad encouraging gambling, the Finnish government stated last year that it will take action against the dangerous practice of unregulated gambling.
Finland coming up with a solution
Since most gambling games in today’s scenario occur online, Finnish people are playing games run by foreign companies. In response, Sanna Marin’s regime stated that it’s unacceptable for gaming profits to go outside while gambling is causing harm in the Nordic nation. The government of Finland is perturbed that foreign companies are eating up the revenues of Finland.
Similarly, Veikkaus announced that its market share of online gambling in Finland has fallen to 50 per cent. Veikkaus also emphasised that the regulation of gambling in Finland only applies to it and not to foreign online gambling companies that are functioning without any restrictions. This is due to the fact that foreign gambling websites do not have to register in Finland or advertise in local media. Moreover, there is no law in existence which averts Finnish people from gambling through these websites.
Foreign gambling companies do not pay any taxes and operate illegally, and that is what is hurting the Finland government. In Europe, Finland is regarded as the last gambling monopoly as Sweden introduced the licensing system in 2019. Finland wants to maintain the monopoly at any cost and ensure that only its state-owned authority controls and gains from gambling and not other western companies.
Therefore, the Finnish government is now insinuating that in addition to promulgating measures which are intended to regulate rampant gambling in the country, it will also implement a licensing system for foreign companies in the Nordic nation. Sanna Marin’s regime has realised that in order to crack down on the gambling disease which is eating away the financial resources of the nation, the foremost priority must be going after foreign gambling operators which are functioning without any checks and balances.