The Finnish government’s proposal to introduce payment blocks for online gambling was approved by the country’s parliament but, with its introduction, policymakers missed an opportunity for significant and overdue gambling reform. money in the country.
On December 14, the Finnish parliament approved an amended version of a government proposal to introduce blocking measures for payment service providers (PSPs) in an attempt to prevent Finns from accessing gambling sites. non-Finnish money. The government is justifying the PSP lockdowns on consumer protection grounds, but critics argue it will restrict consumers’ freedoms and choice.
Today Finland is the only EU member state that still has an exclusive model of online gaming monopoly, but its monopoly has come under increasing public scrutiny in recent years and under increasing pressure. domestic players for a greater choice of online consumers. The government’s proposed PSP blocks, which are part of a group of amendments to the country’s lottery law, aim to address this issue by blocking payments by Finns to and from non-Finnish gambling sites. .
This week, a majority in the country’s parliament approved an amendment to only block payment transactions from Finnish players to non-Finnish gambling sites and not the other way around. This was after parliamentarians raised several concerns about the proposals, including the fear that the freeze on player winnings might be unconstitutional. Following parliamentary approval, the amended lottery law will now enter into force on January 1, 2022 and the new payment blocks will be introduced in early 2023.
Experience from other countries shows that PSP and other blockages do not significantly affect consumer demand and, with its introduction, the EGBA believes that policymakers have missed a significant reform opportunity and in game delay in Finland. At the same time, the EGBA welcomes the growing discussion both within the country’s parliament and in society at large on the future of Finland’s gambling policy. EGBA members are established, licensed and regulated in most EU member states and would like to have the opportunity to apply for a license, be regulated and pay taxes in Finland, but they are still barred from doing so. by the laws on gambling in force in the country.
“The introduction PSP locks is an implicit admission that many Finnish players prefer to bet on other websites rather than the state monopoly website. There are several reasons why they do this: the availability of better betting odds, and better diversity and expertise in the products on offer, to name a few. In the online world, consumers vote with their feet and that is why we will continue to encourage the government to rethink, rather than strengthen, the country’s online gambling monopoly model and champion the benefits of establishing a well-regulated multi-license model. for online gambling in Finland. – Maarten Haijer.