This post is part of a series about European Poker Regulation
Poker in Finland, and indeed all forms of gambling in the country, are tightly regulated through a state run monopoly. Advertising for gambling activities is banned, though some international poker sites have started using social media in the last year to circumvent that ban and reach out to players in the country. The estimated revenue by all betting agencies in Finland in 2015 was € 1.7billion, a very ripe market for both poker and other betting activities. Finnish adults are notorious for being crazy gamblers, a feature of the culture that has definitely made its way into the Finnish style of poker as well. In Finland, like the other Scandinavian countries, gambling is a very popular pastime with as much as 80% admitting in a recent poll to have gambled in the last week.
Finnish poker regulation
All gambling in Finland is regulated based on the Lotteries Act of 2001, which groups poker play with other casino related activities like slot machines and roulette tables. The monopoly in charge, as mentioned before, is Ray Casino, but Finland has a weird quirk where the Aland Island, a self-regulating territory of the country, that has separately legalized betting and its monopoly, PAF, is the only body that can compete with RAY. Having said that, it’s important to mention that in a brief issued on early 2015, a high level official in the country admitted that Finland currently has no intention to persecute those who play online poker outside of the country
While on the fence about international gambling, the situation of state run monopolies of course creates a problem for the EU since Finland is in fact a member. If you don’t know, betting monopolies is just not the European way of doing things, and the pressure to open Finnish borders is already felt. Will the country succumb to pressures from the EU and open their poker players to broader borders? Probably. Is this planned to happen soon? Not as far as we can tell!
Finland landbased poker
If you want to play land based poker for more than chump change in Finland you have to go to the Helsinki Casino, where you can play poker for up to €20/€20. Although there are plenty of illegal poker rooms in Finland, we highly discourage you from attending as unlawful gambling in Finland carries a heavy sentence for the player as well as the operator of the games.