In this article, we will discuss our findings surrounding the payment service provider blocks in Finland as well as EGBA’s involvement in the case. Not only that, but we will seek an answer to the question as to why the Finnish online gambling scene requires such limitation. We suggest you stay tuned as we have plenty to discuss.
Government Gambling Acts & Finnish Payments Blockings
Currently, Finland has only one holder of the exclusive rights to market gambling, meaning that other online operators are strictly forbidden from advertising. This situation is viewed by many as a gambling monopoly assisted by the government, but we will get into that in a bit. Nevertheless, you will be able to access various foreign online casinos. Many of them offer multiple payment methods for Finnish players.
As we were saying, the exclusive rights are held by the Veikkaus Oy, which resulted from the first major reform of the Finnish Lotteries Act. Initially, the company was established in 2017 when the former Veikkaus merged into betting and gambling agencies Fintoto and Finland’s Slot Machine Association.
Anyhow, that was just the first phase of the Finnish Lotteries Act’s reform, which is still underway. The second phase aimed to gather information regarding the reform, while the Ministry of Interior assessed whether authorities could prevent Finns from accessing and transferring funds to foreign gambling sites in the future.
After the pilot study results were published on 29 May 2019, the government announced that it would explore further measures to restrict gambling outside Finland. Eventually, the year-long fight against gambling culminated on 14 December 2021 when the government of Finland approves payment service provider blocking to restrict PSPs from accepting gambling transactions from foreign online casinos in Finland.
The Finnish Lottery Act & Foreign Online Casinos
Not long after implementing the first Lottery Act, the Finnish government came into confrontation with one quite popular foreign online casino. The case was interesting because although the sports site was in English, government officials concluded it targeted Finland and Finnish consumers.
The reasoning behind this statement was due to the actual content on the gambling website. There were targeted special promotional offers for Finnish players and coverage on their sports events. Even more interesting is that this online casino was sponsoring a Finnish sports team.
Regarding this event, the Administrative Court of Helsinki had stated that despite the internet being a global channel, it is evident that this particular operator has targeted Finnish players with its promotions and marketing campaign. Furthermore, the district court has ruled that foreign location of servers, customer service or other operations is irrelevant when assessing whether marketing is targeted at a specific state.
Finnish Criticism from EGBA on the Reforms
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has followed the legislation changes in Finland closely since the start. Therefore, once Finland’s block on foreign online casino payment methods occurred, the association was quick to stand up in opposition and described the government’s decision as “a missed opportunity for overdue gambling reform”.
In its Finnish criticism from EGBA, the organisation stated that despite being the happiest country in the world, it is the only European Union nation with “an exclusive online gambling monopoly model”. The association carried on by disclosing that the country of 5.5 million people should instead learn from the experience of other jurisdictions.
A solid argument for EGBA’s statement is that any Finnish payments blockings on service providers will have little impact on consumer demand. Instead, the association urges the government of Finland to welcome the growing discussion and find a solution.
Available Online Casino Payment Methods for Finnish Players
Despite the legal issues we mentioned earlier, we are pleased to inform you that there are plenty of online casinos that legally operate in Finland. Furthermore, we want to clarify that it is not against the law to play at them or deposit money, and you can do any of that with ease until 1st of January 2023, when the amendments in the law take effect. Until then, you will have the opportunity to play at online operators offering the most convenient payment methods for Finnish players.
Amongst them, you will see some of the most popular international options, such as Visa, Mastercard, and e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Trustly EcoPayz, and Sofort by Skrill. Of course, prepaid cards are also accepted; thus, we can include Paysafecard into the options as well. Here, we have to highlight the fact that individual casinos might have different banking options, so we advise players to always check them out before registering.
Do Finnish Players Still Gamble at Online Casinos?
Finally, as we are drawing near the end of our article on Finland’s block on foreign online payment service providers, we want to clarify that online gambling is still legal despite the recent legislation changes. In fact, Finnish players aged 18 or more are legally allowed to engage in gambling activities but can do so only at operators licensed by the government.
Finland’s Block on Foreign Online PSPs: Conclusion
Despite Finland’s block on foreign online payment service providers and the recent movement against online gambling sites, there is still plenty of opportunity for punters. Online gambling in Finland is still legal but is closely monitored and can be offered by operators with a special licence by the government.
Frequently Asked Questions
Thus, we reached the end of our blog on Finland’s block on foreign online payment service providers. As it is an interesting and complex topic, we are sure that you might still have some questions. Therefore, in the following section, we have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions and answered them for you.
1️⃣ What does Finland’s block on online PSPs mean?
Finland’s block on online PSPs was agreed on and included into the December 2021 amendment of the Government Gambling Act. With this reform, the Finnish parliament aims to prevent payment service providers from accepting gambling transactions from foreign online casinos.
2️⃣ How flexible are the payment methods at the Finnish online casino websites?
Despite Government changes in the Lottery Act, we can confirm that most licensed online casinos offer flexible payment methods for Finnish players.In fact, Finnish players 18 or older can access the same amount of banking options as users from other European countries where online gambling is legal.
3️⃣ Will online gambling still be legal after Finland’s PSP block? legal?
We are pleased to inform you that online gambling in Finland is legal. Due to recent amendments to the Government Gambling Act, online operators have more requirements to fulfil in order to be eligible for gambling. Nevertheless, we can confirm that there is a safe and legal online gambling environment for Finnish players.
4️⃣ Is it legal for foreign online casinos to advertise themselves in Finland?
Unfortunately, due to the most recent amendments of the Lottery Act it is illegal for an unlicensed foreign operator to advertise its online casino to Finnish players. That law also applies to foreign sites that might try to appeal to players from Finland in English.
5️⃣ What is EGBA’s stance on Finland’s block on foreign online PSPs?
As you can see from our article, EGBA’s response on Finland’s block on foreign online payment service providers has been direct and constructive. For example, the association describes Finland’s decision as “a missed opportunity for overdue gambling reform”. It highlights the fact that the country is the only nation in the EU with an exclusive online gambling monopoly model.