Restrictions on online gambling: Finland reacts to Corona crisis

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Peter Brandt 4. May 2020

The online gambling is officially restricted in Finland. The Ministry of the Interior reacts to changing conditions due to corona pandemic. The current crisis had led to the temporary and still continuing closure of all arcades, casinos and betting shops. The restrictions were announced on Tuesday on the website of the state gambling provider Veikkaus Oy. From May 1st, these officially come into force. However, Finland is not the first country, which reacts to the circumstances through the Corona crisis.

Finland limits the online gambling to curb the increased risk of addiction during corona pandemic. ((©stevepb/Pixabay)

Protection against increased risk of addiction

Corona pandemic has a massive impact on social life. In addition to gastronomic companies and a large proportion of retail, all land-based gambling establishments such as arcades, casinos and betting shops are also closed. This fact also makes the Finnish players fall back on the online gambling. This in turn makes the Finnish government listen to Restrictions on the online gambling game reacted.

This step of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior is far from being unique in Europe. In order to counter the significantly increased addictive potential of the online gambling in times of corona pandemic, several European states have already decided on restrictions in the area of online gambling. They include Portugal, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and the neighboring country of Sweden. The restrictions are designed in such a way that the financial, social and health damage Losses in online gambling while reducing corona pandemic. In addition, the measures should have a preventive effect. Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo took a position on the restrictions that were made:

“During the Coronavirus epidemic, most people spend more time at home than usual, which can increase the risk of excessive online gambling. At the same time, many are in a difficult financial situation anyway. With the regulation, we will contain the increasing damage through online gambling during this exceptional situation. ”

New regulation limits the financial losses

The new restrictions should primarily serve to protect players. For this purpose, the upper limit for monthly loss amounts was reduced. This was previously 2,000 $ a month and 1,000 $ a day. At least temporarily these upper limits have now been reduced by 50 percent at 1,000 $ per month and the maximum maximum limit of 500 $ . However, these restrictions were only introduced for the online gambling monopolist Veikkaus Oy. Foreign online casinos can therefore still be selected and played, even if the players move in a legal gray area.

The measures primarily aim at online offers in the area of slot machines, bingo, immediate competitions and live table games. Online poker tournaments are excluded from the regulation. However, the State lottery drawings temporarily paused. International lotteries such as the Eurojackpot or the sale of loose are not affected.

Lack of sales by Corona – temporarily dismissed by Veikkaus Oy. “Since March 13th, all casinos, casinos, betting shops and slot machines have been closed in gastronomic companies in Finland. In addition, due to the effects of Corona pandemic, which make people stay more at home, the number of participants in the state lottery dropped noticeably. These effects have led to a total of around 60 million $ . That is about 40 percent of total sales. For this reason, the state gambling provider Veikkaus Oy was forced to temporarily dismiss the majority of sales employees. This means unemployment for around 670 employees who now have to do without their corresponding salary for at least three months. According to Veikkaus Oy, the online gambling sector has not yet increased as much as feared. So far, sales have increased by around 1.5 million $ . ”

The restrictions apply from May 1st. First, the new rules should be valid until September 30th. However, an extension of the measures is quite possible and is closely linked to the Development of the dimensions of Corona pandemic. So that the new restrictions can also be controlled and implemented on time, the director of the legal and social responsibility of Veikkaus Oy, Pekka Ilmivalta has confirmed that all the necessary technical changes have already been initiated.