Legal Alerts/16 Jun 2023

Finland to Open Up the Online Gambling Market

Pursuant to the government programme published on 16 June 2023, Finland’s new government is committed to opening up the online gambling market and introducing a licensing system for online gambling by January 2026 at the latest.

Finland is going to follow Sweden’s example in the transition and implement a hybrid system that will be a mix of a licensing system and a monopoly. The future licensing system is planned to include online casino games and online betting. The current monopoly holder Veikkaus Oy, on the other hand, would retain its exclusive right within the scope of slot machines, physical casinos, brick-and-mortar betting, and lottery tickets as well as lottery and raffle games regardless of the sales channel. Veikkaus will be divided into two separate legal entities, one operating in the field of monopoly services and the other in the licensed gambling market.

The market opening results from a recent study conducted on the monopoly on gambling activities in Finland pursuant to which the Finnish state loses a significant amount of money because of the gambling activities that take place outside the monopoly system. The study estimates that the sum equals to around EUR 500–550 million per year. The researchers stated that approximately half of all online gambling takes place in games that fall outside the state monopoly system. The study also found that gambling outside the state monopoly causes significant gambling-related harm.

The prevention and reduction of gambling-related harm will continue to be the main objective of the Finnish gambling policy. The government programme will allow the marketing of licensed gambling services but the marketing must be moderate and responsible in terms of its content, scope, visibility and frequency. As far as direct marketing is concerned, an explicit consent from the consumer must be obtained. New measures that aim to prevent the harmful effects of gambling will include a single service point that enables consumers to block gambling on all platforms that offer licensed services. The government will also assess the possibility to restrict the availability of slot machines to designated monitored premises.

Currently, all marketing of gambling services performed by any party other than Veikkaus Oy is prohibited. The prohibition covers even online marketing on foreign sites if it is directed at Finnish consumers. The Finnish gambling market is monitored by the National Police Board of Finland, which has taken measures against several parties in terms of gambling violations. In April 2023, the National Police Board prohibited BML Group Ltd from marketing its gambling services in Finland in violation of the Finnish Lotteries Act and imposed a EUR 2.4 million conditional fine to reinforce the prohibition. The marketing prohibition will continue to apply for a few years until the new legislation becomes applicable.

The next step for the new government is to start preparing a legislative proposal. The exact timetable is not yet known but the preparatory works are expected to commence already this year.

Borenius’ lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding this legal alert. Please feel free to contact any of the Borenius’ attorneys listed in this alert or those with whom you usually work.

Want to know more about the topic? We will be organising a webinar on the opening of the Finnish gambling market on 19 September 2023, with a particular focus on the experiences gained from Sweden's regulatory transition. Our guest speakers Pamela Hansson, Partner at Kastell Advokatbyrå and a member of the Swedish Bar Association and Philip Lagström, Country Manager at Unibet Sweden will be providing their valuable insights on the matter. If you want to join the webinar, please send an email to

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Ilkka Aalto-Setälä



Henriikka Piekkala