UNITED STATES—Secluded and often left without due attention in favor of more noticeable European markets, the Finnish gambling scene is largely overlooked by the general gambling community. However, it’s on the steady rise – online gambling participation in Finland rose by about 13% since 2016, and the trend is expected to strengthen in the years to come, supported by the ever-growing niche of online games of chance.

The gambling life is bubbling in Finland, and even the monopolization of the sector by a single government-driven operator Veikkaus hasn’t made any negative impact on the willingness of players to spend their time and money at online casinos. The latest news of Yggdrasil entering an online casino content agreement with Veikkaus only confirms the readiness of both casino operators and punters to evolve within the given circumstances and find their way to fun, diverse, and – for the luckiest ones – profitable gambling.

But let’s stop awing at all the brilliance of the Finnish gambling market for a moment and try to decompose its realities so that you can understand why it’s on the – not the strongest you can imagine, but still – rise.

State-Run Monopoly of Veikkaus: Good or Bad?

The word ‘monopoly’ cannot boast of too many complimentary connotations – we used to equalize it with suppression, absence of a fair market, and a bunch of other derogatory terms. However, there are two remarks to take into account before blaming the ‘oppressing Finnish regime:’

First of all, Finland is not the only country choosing gambling monopoly over decentralization – for example, the province of Ontario in Canada is still working under a monopoly system, with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) being the only official operator offering gambling games online. And the list could be continued for long.

Secondly, contrary to popular opinion, state-run monopolies are proved to be successful in terms of extracting revenues, as well as they allocate some of their gains for charity.

On the other hand, not everything is that rosy: the monopoly of Veikkaus – which, by the way, was created by the merge of the only three gambling licensees at the start of 2017 (lottery operator Veikkaus, casino operator RAY, and Horse betting provider Fintoto) – hasn’t done anything contributing to offline gambling (Casino Helsinki is the only fully operational casino in Finland; moreover, as of late 2019, Veikkaus was planning to reduce its number of slots), as well as it’s not too successful in fighting the at-risk gambling, though we can’t help noticing that fewer and fewer Finns are suffering from pathological gambling with each year.

As for domestic and international online casinos, they are here and in abundance. You can freely access online casinos in Finland with best reviews and top-notch conditions for gambling as long as you follow these rules:

-Be at least 18 years old.

-Have a Finnish bank account, social security number, and a permanent address in mainland Finland.

-Have only one account at the casino and set the monthly loss limit, which is only €500 at the time of writing.

The Future Vector

While the main state of affairs will hardly be revised in the years to come – let’s keep it real: nothing less than a miracle needed to shift the monopoly paradigm and dethrone lottery as the most beloved form of gambling among locals – there are some remarkable trends to follow.

Luckily for many, Veikkaus is becoming more and more active in online games– not only more than 20 different games are offered to players, but the revenues of the company and the number of clients grow, which is a healthy sign for the Finnish gambling market.

At the same time, the monopoly is embracing new social responsibilities – partly in response to the ill-advised advertising banners urging to gamble whatever it takes, partly because it can afford it.

Liberalization vs. Further Monopolization: the Path to Choose

Even though everything cries for the further liberalization of the Finnish gambling market (that said, the current situation isn’t bad for locals or international players entering Finnish online casinos), there are no evident signs for it at the moment. However, as the numerous cases of other countries (take, for example, Norway) vividly illustrate, there’s no chance to control underground markets – aka foreign operators – to a satisfactory extent and therefore it’s obviously better to try and legalize them under win-win conditions for both operators and the state.