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Gambling in Finland

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The gambling games are very popular in Finland and their supply is diverse.

The market is essentially governed by the law of 23.11.2001 on lotteries (Lotterilag 23.11.2001 / 1047). This applies to a wide range of activities and games like casino games, the availability of slot machines, bingo etc. (Articles 2 and 3). Its definition of a lottery is broad: it is any activity during which participants can win a prize of monetary value and participation to which they must pay financial consideration therefore that the allocation mechanism is based on chance (Article 2).

The Lotteries Act impose a license for the organizing of games. It provides that a license to organize games can only be granted to a Finnish legal nonprofit entity (Article 5). Specifically, to date, three licenses were granted to entities controlled by the state for lotteries of particular importance and that the law refers to as the qualifier of “gambling business” (as opposed to lotteries in which are not because there are not money gains). Designated organizations are Veikkaus Oy (betting, lotteries) Fintoto Oy (equestrian betting), RAY (casinos and slot machines).

The lottery market for the sector of “gambling” is under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior, especially Police Department. The others are under the supervision of the police from province.

The Finnish legislation on gambling focuses on a fundamental guiding principle: the profits from lotteries, regardless of the category to which they belong, shall be used to promote charitable activities or other non-profit activities (Article 7). Article 17 states, for the lotteries under the “gambling activities” only, that earnings should be used to promote sport, physical education, science, the arts, youth work, health, social safety, horse breeding and equestrian sports. Section 11 of the Act adds that the requirement of a license for lotteries under the “gambling activities” is based on the need to ensure game consumer protection, prevent abuse and criminal activity and prevent social problems that can result from gambling activities.

Failure to comply with the requirement to obtain a license, valid for both types of lotteries, constitutes a criminal offense (Article 16a of Chapter 17 of the Penal Code).

The rule of law has led to the absence of foreign players in the Finnish market games. Moreover, the attack on freedom of game movement resulting from this law is not limited to games with no foreign element; the law specifies (Article 2) that it also applies to lotteries organized abroad as soon as the tickets are sold or supplied in Finland, as well as lotteries in the autonomous province of Åland since the tickets are sold or made available in other parts of the country. More so, the law prohibits Finnish operators not justifyng a Finnish license to intervene in the markets of other countries, unless they allow. It thus symbolically poses a principle of prohibition of games even when they are directed abroad.

The Åland islands, under their autonomous status, developed their own gaming market, which is open only to public entities redistributing their profits for social purposes, such as the PAF. PAF is a public association that was formed to serve humanitarian causes, raising profits through gambling to the public. PAF receives a license from the government of the autonomous province of Åland allowing it to offer games on its territory, on boats and on the internet. PAF offers also a large number of slot machines, casino games, poker games, lotteries and betting in different forms. The internet service is a great success with over 200,000 players from Åland, Sweden and Estonia.

We should also mention the existence of an agreement between Sweden and Finland in order to allow the operation of gaming machines on ships which have a regular shipping line between Sweden and Finlande.232 This agreement aims to harmonization of rules between the two États.(Agreement between Sweden and Finland on gaming machines on 1979-02-14 boats and amendment of the Agreement between Sweden and Finland on gaming machines on 2001-03-22 boats.)

Definitions

Games of chance

It os understood by gambling games the jackpot, bingo, betting, lotteries on money or charity, the operations of casinos and other gaming and similar activities during which the benefit is partially or totally dependent on luck or events beyond the control of the participants and for which the loss incurred is clearly disproportionate to the repayment capacity of participants. (Section 16, Chapter 17 of the Penal Code. Given the very specific definition of gambling in Finland, this study is actually mainly on activities designated under Finnish law the term “lottery” and “gaming activity”, not the case very particularly the “gambling”.)

Lottery

Any activity during which participants can win a prize of monetary value and participation to which they must pay financial consideration when the allocation mechanism is based on chance. Finnish law does not submit lotteries involving sums of money to the same regime as the others. He calls the first as “gambling activities”.

Casino games

They belong to the category of the lotteries component of “gambling activities” (see lottery). Gaming machines which access is offered outside casinos belong to the category of the lotteries component of “gambling activities” (see lottery).

Betting

Betting belong to the category of the lottery component of “gambling activities” (see lottery).

Bingo

Bingo is a lottery organized in an authorized place for this activity and during which the winners are those who indicated their participation card (paper or electronic) the numbers designated by lot. Prices in the game are in the form of goods or service. Cash prizes are excluded.

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