Finland is on the brink of a significant transformation in its iGaming industry, as the country is set to break the state-owned iGaming monopoly that has been in place for 70 years. This decision comes after years of stagnation, as Finland lagged behind other European Union member countries in terms of iGaming regulation.
A Shift in Attitude Towards Monopoly
In August 2022, Olli Sarekoski, CEO of the state-owned iGaming company, signalled a change in Finland’s iGaming landscape by suggesting that discussions about breaking the monopoly should intensify. This marked the first instance of the government-owned gambling company addressing the need for an end to its monopoly position.
According to Sarekoski, the shift in attitude is due to the state-owned iGaming company losing market share in recent years. Finnish gamblers are increasingly opting for foreign iGaming companies over their local counterpart, rendering the monopoly unsustainable.
Licensing Model on the Horizon
It is widely anticipated that Finland will adopt a licensing model within the next few years, with the most optimistic predictions pointing to 2026. Establishing an iGaming licensing model from scratch is a complex task, and Finland is likely to draw inspiration from different countries. Estonian iGaming experts from Kasinosivustoni.com have highlighted Estonia as one such potential model, which has garnered admiration from Finnish gamblers.
Estonia’s iGaming Success Story
Estonia has earned the nickname of “iGaming paradise” in Northern Europe, thanks to its low tax rates and successful implementation of an iGaming licensing model. The country allows its citizens to play on government-owned sites or those operating offshore, provided they possess an Estonian Gambling License.
Estonia’s strict licensing rules have ensured a high-quality iGaming market, with measures in place to block unlicensed operators from targeting Estonian customers.
Learning from Nordic Neighbours
Finland could take cues from other countries such as Sweden and Norway, which have recently updated their iGaming regulations. Sweden’s model focuses on a functional and restricted licensing system that ensures only high-quality operators can enter the market. This approach has led to a reduction in gambling-related problems and could serve as a valuable example for Finland.
Norway, on the other hand, has a more restrictive iGaming market, similar to Finland’s current situation. Both countries allow the use of foreign iGaming operators, but heavily promote their domestic options. Norway also strictly prohibits marketing and advertising from foreign iGaming operators, which could influence Finland’s future approach to iGaming regulation.
Key Takeaways for the iGaming Business
- Breaking the Monopoly: Finland’s decision to end the longstanding state-owned iGaming monopoly presents new opportunities for international iGaming companies to enter the Finnish market. Companies should closely monitor developments in Finland’s iGaming regulations to capitalize on the potential for growth in this previously untapped market.
- Learning from Successful Models: Finland’s adoption of a licensing model, inspired by the successful implementation of iGaming regulations in Sweden, Estonia, and Norway, highlights the importance of a robust and functional licensing system. iGaming companies should ensure they meet the high standards and regulatory requirements of these models to secure a foothold in the evolving Finnish market.
- Adapting to Market Changes: As Finland embraces a new era of iGaming regulation, companies must adapt their strategies to comply with potential restrictions on marketing and advertising, as seen in Norway. A proactive approach to understanding and adhering to emerging regulations will be crucial for iGaming operators seeking success in Finland’s changing market landscape.