Finland has a state-controlled monopoly on all forms of
gambling: both offline and online. Three different entities are
each responsible for a specific form of gaming in the country.
These entities also operate the only officially sanctioned
gambling sites in Finland.
RAY is the provider for
brick-and-mortar gambling across the nation. It has the
monopoly for land-based casinos, table games, slot machines,
and traditional casino games such as roulette.
Veikkaus Oy is responsible for the
national lottery, sports betting, and instant win games.
Fintoto Oy is responsible for
parimutuel horse racing.
There’s a fourth organization that oversees all gambling in
the Aland Province, which is an autonomous region that consists
of 6700 islands extending into the Black Sea. This one is called
All four of these organizations effectively carve up gambling
amongst themselves under the direction of the Finnish
government. All profits taken in from gambling activities are
earmarked for social projects such as sporting events, arts,
science, and education.
Officially Licensed Sites
PAF and RAY run the only legal gambling sites recognized by
the Finnish government. PAF owns the monopoly on online gaming
in the Aland Province while RAY holds control over the Finnish
Finland and the European Union regularly butt heads over the
state monopoly on gambling. The EU requires free trade between
member nations and sees the government monopoly as too
restrictive to foreign operators.
The European Commission has issued letters of disapproval
over the state monopoly while Finland has responded with letters
of its own. That’s about the extent of the disagreement. It’s
anybody’s guess as to whether the EU will ever take stronger
actions against Finland.
Unlicensed Gaming Sites in Finland
Foreign gambling sites are forbidden from offering their
services in Finland, but many sites do indeed accept real money
players from Finland. There are no legal mechanisms in place to
censor foreign websites or block financial transactions to and
from those sites.
Additionally, there are no criminal codes that outlaw the act
of placing a bet with an unlicensed operator. Therefore, Finns
are free to play at any of the many gambling sites based out of
other nations. Some of the biggest gaming companies in the world
accept Finns and even have Swedish and Finnish language
Even some of the most legally conservative gaming companies
Bet365 and 888
happily accept customers from Finland. These sites block
customers from the United States for legal reasons, but they have
no problem serving the Finnish market.
Finland has expressed an urge to crack down on what it calls
“illegal gambling” by passing legislation to prevent unlicensed
sites from advertising in Finnish media. While this development
is worth watching, it appears to have no major impact on the
ability of Finns to visit and play at unlicensed gaming sites.
We believe the risk of Finland further cracking down on
“illegal” gambling via web censorship or new banking laws is
minimal. The EU is already warning Finland to lighten up, and
it’s hard to imagine the Finnish government finding it
worthwhile to pick a new fight with the EU over a relatively
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