The online & offline gambling industry in Finland is basically controlled by three main organisations and while the regulated market has continued to evolve over the past 15 or so years, it is still extremely difficult for foreign operators to get a foothold in the Finnish market. It is no secret that the Finnish government would prefer their players to spend money at home rather than spend their money at gaming sites which are controlled by offshore operators.
The state-owned Finnish Slot Machine Association (known as RAY) is one of the major players in the Finnish online gambling industry. This organisation had a monopoly for Table Games, Slot Machines and other Casino Games. Finland also has ‘Fintoto Oy’, which is associated with horse racing and ‘Veikkaus Oy’, which controls the Finnish National Lottery. Money raised by any of these gambling organisations is supposed to be used to benefit social improvement operations and also sponsor non-profit organisations.
Online Gambling in Finland has been legal since 1996 and for years, the government-run PAF (Alands Penningautomatforening) was the dominant figure that was running a legal gambling portal and it did so (and still does) from the Aland Islands. The Aland Islands is a self-governing Swedish-speaking region in Finland. PAF is recognised as a fully licensed gaming site and it was one of the few online gambling venues that Finnish players could actually visit.
For many years PAF was the dominant cross-platform, multi-product gambling portal in Finland which angered both RAY (the Finnish Slot Machine Association) and Veikkaus Oy, so in 2010, the Finnish government eventually allowed RAY to expand its enterprises in the online gambling market as well. Veikkaus Oy (which is owned by the Finnish government) and Fintoto, both followed shortly after and now all of these reputable organisations offer their own internet gambling services.
A law was also passed by the Finnish government in 2010 which prevents offshore operators from advertising their gambling products via Finnish broadcast outlets or via Finnish publications, and it also prevents them from doing so using .fi domains. In fact, it is now recognised as a criminal offence and punishable by jail time (up to a maximum of 24 months) for foreign-owned gaming providers to advertise their products in Finland using any of these channels.
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