How is Gambling Regulated in Scandinavia? A Model to Follow or to Avoid?


There are different models for regulating gambling. Today we will look at the one applied in Scandinavian countries – Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Finnish casinos – Slot machines even in the supermarket

On a per capita basis, Finns are the fourth biggest gamblers in the world, according to Finnish public broadcaster Yle. Based on data from the national health authority THL, 80 percent of the population plays some form of gambling every year. By comparison, about 35 to 50 percent of adults in the US do, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Although there are only a handful of brick-and-mortar casinos in Finland, the opportunities for small-time gambling are so numerous that it is almost ubiquitous. Lotteries can be wagered at more than six thousand locations across the country, and gaming machines can be found in unexpected places. The Finns developed a favorable attitude towards gambling during World War II, when filling out tickets through a state-owned company was seen as a financial help to the motherland. Even if they lost, the money went where it was needed. But the state-owned firm, which has a monopoly on gambling in Finland, has since grown into a massive institution that has not been spared controversy and corruption scandals. And the more money that flows into it, the more pressing another problem becomes – addicted gamblers.

In Finland, light gambling is not socially perceived as a vice, but as something normal. According to Riitta Matilainen, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, this is a historically deep-rooted attitude that was sown more than a century ago in the early years of the independent Finnish state.

However, in 2001, the Finnish gambling industry was regulated through the Lottery Act (The Finnish Lotteries Act (1047/2001, as amended)), which was a significant step forward for the online gaming industry. Eventually, the door was opened for the licensing of online casino providers, allowing players in Finland to enjoy a fantastic selection of on-demand games.

The popularity of online casinos has increased significantly since they were regulated, so there is always a desire for more. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of gaming platforms over the years, which has given punters a wider choice of online casinos, games and casino bonuses in Finland Finnish casinos operate similarly to most other European gaming platforms. The focus is on users verifying their age before they can deposit and start playing. If a player is eighteen or older, they will be legally allowed to gamble at online casinos in Finland, but anyone younger will not.

Inspiration for the US? How gambling is regulated in Norway

Norway has chosen the path of strict gambling control. It sets fixed limits for players, controls them, communicates with them. If gamblers are in danger of falling into addiction, it bans them from gambling.

In 2017, Norway banned the operation of all slot machines. They were replaced by video terminals called multiplexes. In order to play on them, people have to register and use their own card.        

Norsk Tipping, a state-owned monopoly company, operates in Norway. The monopoly covers all gambling except animal racing, which is run by Norsk Rikstoto. Norsk Tipping’s official website states that daily profits amount to NOK 15 million, which translates to approximately USD 1.4 million. The funds thus raised are invested in culture, sports. Part of it is given to the fight against gambling – however, casino bonuses in Norway are still sought out by the players. Here you can find casino bonuses in Slovakia.

As we can see from the profits of the state monopoly, gamblers are investing heavily in gambling. The state regulates this area with specific measures. Gamblers have to register. Since private operators do not operate here, the state can monitor them. In the event of risky gambling, it intervenes.

If Norsk Tipping judges that a player’s behavior is conducive to risk, it can exclude him from the game or order him to take a break. Such a break is set for a precise number of days.

The exclusion from play is final and permanent. Statistics published on Norsk Tipping’s website show that in 2019, 162 thousand players, almost eight percent of the total number of registered players, were excluded from playing or suspended for an exact number of days. 

By definitively and permanently banning a player, Norsk Tipping seeks to prevent addiction from forming. If someone is heading towards addiction and a failure to master the game, the exclusion prevents them from falling into it permanently.

Sweden: Women lead in gambling, overtaking men for the first time

It looks like another established gender formula has fallen in Sweden. It’s no longer just men who drown their savings in slot machines or online betting. On the contrary, the women have overtaken them. According to a recent study, a full 64 percent of Swedish gamblers are women. It’s the first time in history that women have been the majority of gamblers.

In Sweden, a country of 10 million people, there are an estimated 45,000 people who have fallen into gambling addiction. Three years ago, women were represented in only 18 percent of the population. The steep rise in women as a result of some recent changes.

The whole gambling business has fundamentally changed. Gambling is no longer just conducted in casinos or gambling halls. The business is also growing on the web. From the comfort of their homes, women can guess the results of horse races, play the lottery or a game of cards and use casino bonuses in Sweden They don’t have to face the inquisitive stares of a visit to a gambling hall. In any case, Sweden has once again topped the world statistics when it comes to the representation of women in certain areas of life.

Since January 2019, a new licensing system has been in place, which has imposed stricter rules on gambling issuing restrictions on advertisements promoting gambling. However, despite one of strictest regulations in Europe and a monopoly of the Swedish government through Svenska Spel on all forms of gambling, online casino websites are still very popular in Sweden.

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