Why Finland Became an Online Casino Hub?
While Finland might seem like an odd choice as the face of the online gambling revolution, once you get into the details, the oddities even out. Finland has traditionally been a powerhouse of gambling among the Nordic countries. And the situation is no different for online gambling.
The Finns love casino games, which has led to a booming iGaming market. This is often a surprise for people unfamiliar with the subject. Finland is hardly what comes to mind when you think of a competitive market. With only 16 land-based casinos in the country, a handful of legal online casinos, and a population half that of London, the stats don’t add up.
How Did Finland Evolve into a Gambling Hub?
Quite a few factors are working in Finland’s favour. And these have collectively helped establish the country as a premium gambling hub. These are:
When you think about it, the relatively low number of land-based casinos have helped boost the country’s affinity for online gambling. Finland has a state-owned monopoly on physical and virtual gambling venues, which seriously limits the options for punters. Taking stock of the situation, offshore platforms hosted within the European Union stepped up to fulfil the void. While it’s still illegal to sign up at casinos hosted outside the country, the government is yet to crack down on the violators. Apart from international competition, locally-hosted platforms are slowly setting up shop, which in turn is boosting competition. Over time, it’s getting progressively easier to find online casinos in Finland.
2. Market Size
In technological terms, Finland is one of the most developed nations in the European Union. Therefore, despite a meagre population of five and a half million, the country has adapted quite well to online gambling as a source of entertainment. The Finnish gambling industry is worth an astounding EUR 2 billion annually, which speaks volumes of the country’s affinity for wagering. Gambling is a major source of revenue for the authorities and the state’s monopoly immensely helps the exchequer fund research in science, arts, and education.
As the online gambling industry is switching towards mobile gambling, Finland was among the first nations to recognize the trend and act on it. As a result, mobile gambling was a thing in Finland long before any other regulated market in the world, and the industry continues to grow at an outstanding pace today. The relaxed attitude of the authorities also plays a massive role in promoting the industry. The Finns are a forward-thinking bunch who believe in individual rights to make decisions regarding entertainment and pastime choices. Thus, forming a broad appeal for online gambling.
4. Changing Ethos
As the Finnish online gambling industry continues to grow, a certain section of the population believes the government monopoly is hurting development. Despite the state’s monopoly on gambling operations, the age-old norms are quickly losing relevance. Hence, the authorities are under constant pressure to modernize the laws. This has been successful to a certain extent as recent regulations following the coronavirus pandemic have allowed private operators to set up shop in the nation. However, the Finnish gambling industry still has a long way to go before private operators begin to thrive.
While Finland allows online gambling, the industry is heavily regulated. While the government retains control over most gambling activities, private operators can offer sports betting and casino games. However, Finnish gamblers can sign up for offshore platforms and the trend won’t likely dissipate anytime soon.