Finnish Government Unveils New Loss Limits for Online Gambling Services and Full Ban on Lottery Draws as of May 1st

Finland has become the latest country to unveil stricter rules regarding gamblers’ loss limits. The move came as part of the measures taken by the country over the coronavirus pandemic and would affect online gambling, while lottery draws are set to be fully suspended for the duration of the Covid-19 situation.

On April 28th, the Interior Ministry of Finland revealed that fast-paced gambling games that are being offered to local customers by Veikkaus, the country’s gambling monopoly, would now face stricter rules aimed at reducing the possible gambling-related harm that could be inflicted on individuals. The aforementioned games would now face monthly loss limits of €500 per customer. The previous customer loss limit per month was set at €2,000.

The new limits for online fast-paced games are set to be officially implemented on May 1st and will extend through September 30th. They will apply to online slots and table games, online betting and eBingo. No such limits would be applicable to online poker.

Furthermore, the €500 loss limit per customer will also apply to online lotteries, even though all lottery draws are set to be temporarily banned as of May 4th. Finnish players will also have to set their own daily and monthly loss limits that cannot surpass the maximum of €500 but could be smaller.

New Gambling Loss Limits Intended to Keep Finnish Customers Protected from Harm

As explained by Minister Maria Ohisalo, the new limits were necessary, as the Government wanted to make sure local residents are well-protected against gambling-related harm. Ms. Ohisalo further noted that the measures are set to remain by the end of September, even if the pandemic threat recedes before that, explaining that reducing the potential for gambling harm was one of the paramount goals of the local authorities at times when an increasing number of people gets oriented to online gambling services.

Similar proposals regarding the online gambling loss limits have been made in Sweden. In Finland, the cap is considered a major blow to the operations of Veikkaus that has already been facing difficulties in the conditions of a forced shutdown of its brick-and-mortar gambling venues, such as arcade and slots operations, in the middle of March. A week ago, the gambling monopoly of the country revealed that its weekly gambling revenue was below €20 million, a figure that represents a significant decline of about €10 million of its pre-pandemic expectations.

Apart from that, Veikkaus has revealed that it expects many regular gamblers, who would otherwise use the services of land-based gambling facilities, to shift their focus to online operations. Reportedly, online casino revenue rose by approximately €1.5 million since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The level of customer registrations in online gambling sites has risen by half, but customer spending was within the levels from before the pandemic. On the other hand, the majority of sports events got cancelled after the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in a sports betting revenue decline of about €4.5 million.

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