Finland Online Casino Gaming Imposes Loss Limit
The fast growth of the industry brought millions in gambling revenue for the state and potential risk for gamblers. Many gamblers avoid government-imposed gaming restrictions by joining in online gambling platforms that are out of reach of legislations.
The coronavirus pandemic contributed to the increase of gamblers playing in online casinos. Government travel and business restrictions shut down operations of land-based casinos and other betting facilities, which opened the window for online casinos.
Google reported an increase in searches for online gambling platforms such as online casinos during the first month of the lockdowns.
The pandemic created a new breed of gamblers that are inclined to digital gambling. During the lockdowns, people placed their bets on online gambling sites due to the absences of land-based gambling facilities. However, problem gambling groups were alarmed of the risks attached to the growth of online gambling.
Loss limit on online casino gaming
Many countries imposed stricter restrictions on online gambling because of its rapid growth. Finland’s Interior Ministry recently announced new guidelines in the operations of its online casinos.
The industry regulators announcement on May said people playing in online casino platforms are subject to a strict monthly loss limit until at least September 30.
Gamblers are only allowed to loss €500 instead of the usual €2,000. The regulator halted the operations of the state lottery.
The government imposed the restrictions to protect gamblers from themselves after noticing that, without restrictions, people are more likely to play in online casinos than perform their other obligations.
Regulators fear that online gambling could pose significant financial damage to the people who are already struggling to survive the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.
The regulation will cover almost every online gambling activity such as virtual betting, eBingo, online slots and table games except poker. The regulators also mandated players to set their own daily and monthly loss limits. The new guidelines are similar to the one imposed in Sweden.
The guidelines apply to Veikkaus casinos which are state-owned. The operator is struggling to compete with international online casino operators. The guidelines are expected to cause further damage to their operations.
Impact on Veikkaus operations
The limit was imposed to protect the gambler’s interest, but it is expected to pose a negative impact on the operations of the state-owned casinos.
Veikkaus has no choice but to follow the regulations, unlike its foreign counterparts, that has autonomy over its operations. The casino’s revenue was hardly hit by the lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Critics of the state’s monopoly of the gambling industry are pushing for legislation to license privately-owned companies in the country. The state-run casino is competing with unlicensed casinos that have a high risk for crimes like fraud and hacking.
Unlicensed casinos also risk people to problem gambling since most allow high betting limits and offers promos that attract people to place more bets.
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