The online casino business is a huge global industry. High profit margins are constantly incentivizing more and more companies to get into gambling and create their own casino sites. At the same time, the ever-evolving mobile technology is a surefire way to assure the influx of new customers. From a customer standpoint, gambling online has never been easier than it is now.
In this article, we will go over what the current online casino market landscape in Europe looks like. In addition to this, we will also talk about the recent developments in Finland’s quest to open up its very own regulated casino market.
The Effects of the Rise of Online Casinos
The first online casinos in the world came to be somewhere in the mid-90s. This was already during the time when the Internet as a whole was still in its infancy. Filled with tech-savvy opportunists, the casino industry was among the first ones to jump at the chance of making money from worldwide audiences. Nowadays, Nettikasinot 360 is one website that lists many successful casino brands.
Fast-forward close to 30 years from the inception of the very first online casinos, the industry has now grown into a massive juggernaut. Breaking through barrier after barrier, online casinos have also become somewhat of a thorn in politicians’ sides. Because of this meteoric rise in popularity, regulators have had to be swift in their actions. Several moves have had to have been made around the world to deal with all the financial implications of having casino games available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
In the past few decades, most countries in the world have had to choose their stance on online casinos. For some, the chosen stance has been a complete ban on said activities. For others, the choice has been to regulate the market the best way they know how.
Casino Regulation in Norway and Sweden
There are numerous ways to regulate the gambling market. For instance, Norway and Sweden have both chosen to go a very different route.
In Norway, the government has opted to keep the online casino industry tightly regulated. This has included shutting off the market from all outside interference. In order to accomplish this, the state has implemented bans on bank transfers going to foreign online casinos. However, as it turns out, this regulation has not exactly been able to curb the whole industry. Instead, many Norwegians are using VPNs to circumvent bans and alternative payment methods to make deposits and withdraw money.
Sweden, on the other hand, has opted to open its market to outsiders. Those wanting to access the Swedish market have to pay a fee in order to obtain a license from the Swedish Spelinspektionen. This way, some of the proceeds from gambling can be channeled right back to the state.
Finland Following Sweden’s Lead
As described above, Sweden and Norway have adopted very different ways to address the rise of online casinos. From the looks of things, it seems like Finland will be mimicking its new system after its closest Western neighbor in Sweden.
In June 2023, it was announced that the close to 80-year-old Finnish state-run monopoly on gambling was finally coming to an end. This was after several years of politicians claiming that the state should instead try to strengthen the monopoly. The major shift in attitude came after Finnish state-run Veikkaus itself came out in favor of abolishing its own monopoly due to declining market share.
At the time of writing, it is still unclear as to what the Finnish system will look like when it finally comes into effect in 2026. The newly elected Finnish government is currently trying to figure out the best policies and models to suit the country’s unique needs. One important thing to address will be problem gambling, which has long been a major issue in Finland.
When it comes to online gambling, the tides are changing in Finland and elsewhere. If the past is any indication, chances are that regulatory bodies will continue to have a hard time keeping up with the growing demand for games of luck.