Finland moves forward with measures against online gaming

Nafor

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It is a sad moment for online poker players and sports bettors in finland. The plans that were published over a year ago have now taken another step.

According to Finnish tabloid Iltalehti (Finnish link) The Parliament of Finland has approved the new Lottery Act on Tuesday December 14th. Starting from January 1st 2023 banks are required to block money transfers to selected game providers.

The original Lottery Act proposal contained a demand to block also withdrawals but that turned out to be against the constitution so it was dropped.

How providers are selected?


This is the part where things get interesting. In the future there will be a so called "black list" that is maintained by the National Police Board of Finland. A gambling site that actively markets its products to the Finnish market will be considered violating the new Lottery Act and that alone will probably be enough for a site to be put on the list.

At this point it is unclear if the officials will only block the money transfers or will they also block access to these sites? However, if they blocked access to those sites, then this would make it impossible for individuals to withdraw their winnings, so I'm guessing that they can't do that without violating the constitution.

High costs involved

The financial experts estimate that the creation of money transfer blocking mechanism will cost from 300k to 3 million euros for each banking group, and maintaining it will also require lot of resources. The Finance Finland (English link) considers the blockages to be ineffective and too costly for the little benefits that they offer.

What now?


As an individual I am waiting what will become of this. My biggest fear is that game providers will arrive to the conclusion that Finland is not worth the trouble and will exclude Finnish customers altogether. Hopefully it won't come to that...
 
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KRANKES

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It's soo sad, all Europe is gonna be banned. Adult people should be able to decide how they spend their lifes. But in every country you are still allowed to drink you to death, isn't it? As long as you pay the taxes!
 
balo

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I think we have to move over to Bitcoin and other currencies that are not connected with any government. We have the same problem in norway.

At least more and more sites are accepting other deposit/cash out options. Right now I use Revolut and it works fine, as long as the money are not transferred directly from your local bank.
 
Alizona

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Nations HATE online transactions because they cannot control them.

Governments are all about controlling their population, and this is why many countries which claim to be all about "freedom" are utter hypocrites. They aren't about financial freedom, they always wish to be in total control of financial transactions. They fear we are cheating them out of tax revenues, or they fear we are "terrorists" moving money in ways they cannot track.

It's ALL bullsh*t, pardon my Finnish. LOL I am a bitter "free" American, our government did this to us more than a decade ago as most people know, we Americans have been banned from poker stars for over ten years now. And I'm still mad as hell about it, and I despise my own government for doing it. They are liars and hypocrites to claim they promote "freedom around the world", but then they take away the freedom of their own citizens.

So sorry to hear this, Finland, you are a good people just like we Americans are, but this is the sad reality of our evil world we live in. So many other countries have also had their poker freedoms taken away under false pretenses, you will just be another victim of it... All the best to you guys, you have always been great for the game of poker, but one by one, all nations are taking it away from their people. It's very sad to witness.
 
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DS3

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Knowing little about daily life in Finland I did some quick research and it would appear Finns do have an issue with gambling.

Of course the irony at play here is the problem stems from a government monopoly of decades “Veikkaus” which promotes gambling (slots, horse races, lotteries etc.) thereby raising revenue for social programs. To make matters worse, studies show often these gambling activities have targeted those with the least means in Finland. Regardless, a majority of Finns gamble. It’s a dilemma.

Not necessarily the same, but it reminds me of the situation in the UK where the government has also for decades encouraged and allowed the gambling industry to permeate every corner of UK society...until more and more entities started to push back that this had created a massive problem for many.

Inevitably laws enacted are so broad and heavy handed those who gamble in a more measured manner (such as poker players) get caught up - the UK also trying to restrict deposits via credit cards.

As a non gambler, I am not sure there are easy solutions. As I only play poker and never gamble on anything else I could argue such laws are unfair on poker players, yet, it’s a false argument as many poker players are degen gamblers as well.

It is difficult to carve out an exception for poker so I am not sure what solutions meet the problem in a ‘fair’ manner.
 
Nafor

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Knowing little about daily life in Finland I did some quick research and it would appear Finns do have an issue with gambling.
According to study made by Finnish institute for health and welfare in 2019, three percent of Finns were considered to have a some kind of gambling problem, and only half of that group where considered as gambling addicts.

Of course the irony at play here is the problem stems from a government monopoly of decades “Veikkaus” which promotes gambling (slots, horse races, lotteries etc.) thereby raising revenue for social programs. To make matters worse, studies show often these gambling activities have targeted those with the least means in Finland. Regardless, a majority of Finns gamble. It’s a dilemma.

As you've said, Veikkaus is our national game provider and most people play their games. An average Finn uses about 320 euros/year in their games.

The only "game" that Veikkaus and the Finnish authorities can play against EU to sustain and defend the local monopoly, is the narrative that they are protecting Finnish players from the bigger harms of gambling. And so far this narrative has been very successful. There are no dark clouds to be seen in the horizon for Veikkaus.

But there is more to this hypocrisy. Veikkaus has set limits to how much an individual can lose in a month's time to their slot machines. That amount is considerably high (2000 euros/month) considering that people who play the most hardly even earn that much in a month.
 
Uncloggie

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More government intrusion into the people's pockets, quelle surprise!
 
antonis32123

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Governments unfortunatelly do this in many countries around the world . Either they ban it comoletely or they impose restrictions , where to play , how much or whatever . they try to control everything . We can only adapt , see where we can play and how we will receive the payments if banks don 't do it . In my country expensive licences have made many poker rooms not to accept new customers , also I cannot play challenges or receive money os PS , but it was harder when we had recession , I couldn;'t find a way to deposit , only one card , which now is no more

We have to adapt . Thankfully there is ACR , crypto methods to be paid , other ways for that , no reason to panik . Alos VPN ,when the poker room allows it
 
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To be honest then I am not sure where the thrust if this post is going.

80% of Finns are said to gamble, but you say this is not a problem (or problem gamblers are negligible as a per cent). Okay.

So what is the point of the legislation? An attempt to block Finnish players from potentially playing on international sites? That is the sole reason for the measures?
 
Nafor

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So what is the point of the legislation? An attempt to block Finnish players from potentially playing on international sites? That is the sole reason for the measures?
Short answer - YES.

To understand this "problem" one has to first view the big picture.

Finland started regulating money involved games in the 1930's, and since then the control over things has only grown.

Today, Veikkaus is the milking cow that most people don't want to get rid off. Veikkaus receives over billion euros from the pockets of Finns every year. Its profits are given to non-profit organizations, and for support of science, culture and sports, but many get paid along the way.

It has about 1600 employees, it spends over 20 million/year for marketing, and in the upper levels of the organization there are also Finnish politicians. Many of the non-profits whose existence is based on helping those who have a gambling problem get a large part of their funding from Veikkaus, so even they prefer the status quo.

During Covid all slot machines (over 15 000 of them) were taken offline. This caused a huge hit in Veikkaus' revenue which decreased over 30 percent. All the non-profits are now scared for their funding and there have been talks that Finnish government would take over the payments. All this has been like a gasoline to the flames.

Today I took another look at Veikkaus' site and found a more recent (2021) study about gambling problems. It says that only 1.8 percent of Finns have a some sort of gambling problem. They credit themselves for this improvement even though it is clear that Covid restrictions played a big part in this.

When the money transfer blocking idea was introduced to the public, high numbers were thrown in the air. It was said that around 300 million/year could be blocked, and this could be channeled towards common good. Non-profits and others were glimmering with dollar signs in their eyes, and all were showing the green light to this hideous legislation. But that was just an estimate without any real proof. Now that estimate has decreased down to 4-12 million. It is still an estimate cause no-one knows.


80% of Finns are said to gamble, but you say this is not a problem (or problem gamblers are negligible as a per cent). Okay.

You say that 80 percent of Finns gamble? That might be true but one has to be accurate about the terminology. Lottery is undoubtedly the most popular game in Veikkaus' history. Many people, from all walks of like tend to play it, if not every week but often. The main prize is often couple of million euros, and the dream of winning big must be the allure that has kept that game a float for decades. So people play but they don't spend fortunes on it. Even a euro is enough to take part. It is even a popular social thing in many workplaces where people play it as a group, and sometimes they get lucky. It that sense, huge amount of Finns play but it doesn't make them gamblers, or individuals with a problem. I would say that gambling is not a bigger problem in Finland than it is in most countries.

The sole reason of this legislation is to protect the Finnish gambling monopoly and keep it alive as long as possible. At the beginning of Finland's journey in the EU there were some obstacles created by EU, since one of the basic principles of EU is to protect free commerce. Finland having a monopoly over its gambling was, and at some level probably still is, a red flag for EU. But Finland has made its case that it is protecting its citizens from harm by doing so, and so far EU has bought this explanation. How long this will continue remains to be seen.
 
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Alizona

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So what is the point of the legislation? An attempt to block Finnish players from potentially playing on international sites? That is the sole reason for the measures?

It is, in my opinion, quite clearly an attempt to keep money within the nation's borders and restrict its movement around the world.

Why else would the place which so loudly boasts in its national anthem to be the "LAND OF THE FREE" act in such a way as to blatantly take away the freedom to spend our entertainment dollars as we see fit? Of course I am talking about my own home country of the USA which banned us from playing on Poker Stars, full tilt poker and partypoker on April 15, 2011, more than a decade ago...

But of course, we are now up to 5 of our 50 "United States" who have allowed Poker Stars to spread poker to the residents of those 5 States... but for the other 45 States, we are still banned... and even worse, even if you are lucky enough to reside in one of those 5 States, you cannot play poker on Poker Stars with anyone except the other residents of your State... we call this "ring-fenced" poker, they have placed a fence around the State and no resident is allowed to play poker with anyone outside the fence... there is no "global" poker allowed on Stars from the USA, we still can't play in the Sunday Million, for example, and apparently we never will be allowed even if Stars is allowed back into our home State.

If people really think about it, and what this means (most do not think at all, sadly), you should easily realize what is going on... they have taken away a very specific freedom, which is obviously the freedom and the ability to move money outside of your nation's (or State's) borders. The fact that Poker Stars is regaining its ability to spread poker to USA citizens, but only in small fenced-in regions proves this point very easily. And we also see this happen in Europe, where each nation banned the "global Poker Stars" but also allowed Stars to spread poker in isolated regions that cannot play with each other... thus we have all the various Poker Stars such as:

pokerstars.es for Spain
PokerStars.fr for france
PokerStars.it for Italy
PokerStars.au for austria
PokerStars.in for india
and many many more - in fact, it is difficult to find an accurate list of just how many nations have "ring-fenced" their citizens into a non-global, small player pool... I just tried to find a complete list and an internet search was unable to provide me with the full list... they literally don't want people to realize the extent of just how much of our financial freedoms have been taken away.

Eventually I am certain EVERY nation on Earth will have done this to their citizens... but few realize it, and even fewer seem to care about it. It is all very sad to witness, both the fact it is happening, and the fact that nobody really seems to care or do anything about it.
 
Mati532

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Sad news for the Finnish people, hopefully change the government with this letter!:(
 
hutzpaf

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Let's see what happens 1.1.2022. It is possible that I will still able to play certain sites..:confused:
 
Nafor

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Let's see what happens 1.1.2022. It is possible that I will still able to play certain sites..:confused:

Well, the money blockages should not take effect before the beginning of 2023. So probably nothing happens before that --- no-one knows for sure...
 
toni_brasco

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Yes, same here in Croatia, you can not open many of betting sites and poker as well if they are connected, i still can download 888 poker through the tor onion network, hope will stay like this.
 
toni_brasco

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It is, in my opinion, quite clearly an attempt to keep money within the nation's borders and restrict its movement around the world.

Why else would the place which so loudly boasts in its national anthem to be the "LAND OF THE FREE" act in such a way as to blatantly take away the freedom to spend our entertainment dollars as we see fit? Of course I am talking about my own home country of the USA which banned us from playing on Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker on April 15, 2011, more than a decade ago...

But of course, we are now up to 5 of our 50 "United States" who have allowed Poker Stars to spread poker to the residents of those 5 States... but for the other 45 States, we are still banned... and even worse, even if you are lucky enough to reside in one of those 5 States, you cannot play poker on Poker Stars with anyone except the other residents of your State... we call this "ring-fenced" poker, they have placed a fence around the State and no resident is allowed to play poker with anyone outside the fence... there is no "global" poker allowed on Stars from the USA, we still can't play in the Sunday Million, for example, and apparently we never will be allowed even if Stars is allowed back into our home State.

If people really think about it, and what this means (most do not think at all, sadly), you should easily realize what is going on... they have taken away a very specific freedom, which is obviously the freedom and the ability to move money outside of your nation's (or State's) borders. The fact that Poker Stars is regaining its ability to spread poker to USA citizens, but only in small fenced-in regions proves this point very easily. And we also see this happen in Europe, where each nation banned the "global Poker Stars" but also allowed Stars to spread poker in isolated regions that cannot play with each other... thus we have all the various Poker Stars such as:

PokerStars.es for Spain
PokerStars.fr for France
PokerStars.it for Italy
PokerStars.au for Austria
PokerStars.in for India
and many many more - in fact, it is difficult to find an accurate list of just how many nations have "ring-fenced" their citizens into a non-global, small player pool... I just tried to find a complete list and an internet search was unable to provide me with the full list... they literally don't want people to realize the extent of just how much of our financial freedoms have been taken away.

Eventually I am certain EVERY nation on Earth will have done this to their citizens... but few realize it, and even fewer seem to care about it. It is all very sad to witness, both the fact it is happening, and the fact that nobody really seems to care or do anything about it.
Well explained.
The governments are just tyrans and more and more restrictions coming.
 
hutzpaf

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That was it..damn it.:( I tried to log in to the freeroll.
 

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acidburnfx

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It looks like the government is set to tighten their grip on such foreign operators.
 
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romerim

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A solução é trocar por bitcoin isso é muito triste pois adultos decidem o que fazem, ate porque alcool e tabaco que levam a morte, podem consumir até a morte, pagando impostos eles não estão nem ai.
 
hutzpaf

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I contacted PS support and asked why I can't play freerolls ?
Answer: you should be able to participate in..let's see what happens in the future.:confused:
 
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I contacted PS support and asked why I can't play freerolls ?
Answer: you should be able to participate in..let's see what happens in the future.:confused:

Frustrating. Keep us posted.
 
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fundiver199

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I contacted PS support and asked why I can't play freerolls ?
Answer: you should be able to participate in..let's see what happens in the future.:confused:

Freerolls are real money games, so if they dont offer real money games in a particular country, you can also not play freerolls. Only the play money section is available then.
 
ADRI7HO

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The river is flowing and the world is rolling towards the abyss.

Sad. :(
 
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