Considering its small population, Finland has a surprisingly huge betting market. Many Finns are passionate about various sports, with the most popular being ice hockey, skiing, basketball, football, and motorsports. But Finland’s gambling and sports betting laws significantly differ from other Scandinavian countries. Many of our readers will be surprised to learn that Finland is the only country in the EU that did not abandon its gambling monopoly.
Veikkaus Oy and PAF in the autonomous Åland Islands are the two state-backed companies that have the exclusive rights to provide gambling services to Finnish casino fans and punters. However, no law prohibits sports fans from Finland from using the services of offshore betting sites.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Finland
Although Finland has established a full state monopoly on all forms of gambling, no law prohibits offshore sportsbooks from accepting Finnish punters. This means that Finnish residents can pick from a wide range of reputable betting sites that will make them feel right at home.
Since Finland does not issue gambling licenses to offshore betting companies, you can use the services of any online sportsbook geared toward the Finnish market. Unfortunately, you have to be extremely careful when choosing a betting site because not all of them are trustworthy. Finnish residents looking for a reliable sportsbook that offers competitive odds should check our list of the best online sportsbooks in Finland.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Finland
Online sportsbooks offer various bonuses to stand out. Besides, many sports fans join a given betting platform mainly due to the promotions it offers. That is why it is essential for operators to offer generous promotions for new registrants and existing users.
Fortunately, there is no restriction regarding the bonuses online sportsbooks can offer to their Finnish customers. However, punters should keep in mind that online sportsbooks do not just give free money. There are always some bonus terms you have to meet before cashing out your profits.
Match Deposit Bonus
Finnish punters can pick from various sportsbooks that will match their first deposits by a given percentage up to a specific dollar amount. Match deposit bonuses are usually available to newcomers. Some betting sites geared toward the Finnish market also feature match deposit bonuses for existing punters. Match deposit bonuses usually come with wagering requirements that bettors must satisfy to convert the bonus funds into cash. Besides, punters must comply with the odds restriction when staking bonus funds. Some online sportsbooks require punters to wager a specific amount to release the bonus funds.
Free Bets and Risk-Free Bets
Another fantastic offer available to punters from Finland is the free bet. Some betting sites offer free bets to their new registrants, providing them with the opportunity to place bets without risking their funds. However, some operators require punters to fund their accounts and wager a specific amount to qualify for a free bet.
Note that free bets cannot be cashed out. If you place a wager with a free bet and it settles as a win, you will collect the profit from the wager. Some online sportsbooks offer risk-free bets, allowing punters to receive a refund should their wagers lose. Typically, risk-free bets are credited in the form of free bets.
An accumulator bet combines bets from multiple games into a single wager. All selections must win for the bet to be successful. Even if one selection loses, you will lose the entire bet. Punters who take Acca insurance will get their stake back in the form of free bets or bonuses given that the accumulator bet loses by a single selection. Acca insurance is available on specific sporting events and betting markets as specified by the operator.
Betting Regulation in Finland
Gambling and sports betting activities have been quite popular among Finns since the 17th century. However, the country banned all forms of gambling in 1899. But this did not stop punters from wagering on their favorite sporting events. Many Finns went to Sweden, where gambling was allowed at that time. The country realized that the strict ban on gambling has a negative impact on its economy and decided to legalize lotteries and horse racing in the 1920s.
But Finland took an interesting regulatory approach, establishing a gambling monopoly. Three state-owned entities were given the exclusive rights to provide gambling services to Finnish residents. RAY was the company authorized to offer land-based gambling across the country. Veikkaus Oy took control over the national lottery, sports betting, and instant-win games. Fintoto Oy was responsible for the provision of parimutuel horse racing.
In January 2017, the three organizations were merged into one state-owned monopoly called Veikkaus. There is also a fourth organization called PAF, which is responsible for overseeing all gambling activities in the Aland Province.
The Lottery Act of Finland
In Finland, all profits from gambling activities are used to support social welfare, health, sports and culture, science, and others. Figures show that the gambling industry in Finland generates over one billion Euros every year. Although Veikkaus is the only company authorized to offer gambling services to Finns, the law does not prohibit punters from using the services of foreign operators. This means that offshore sportsbooks can accept punters from Finland but are not allowed to advertise their services in the country.
Finland passed its first gambling law called the Lottery Act in 1966. It provides major definitions of the different forms of gambling. Interestingly, it states that bingo and keno are subcategories of lotteries. The Lottery Act of Finland has undergone several changes over the years. In 2002, lawmakers introduced reforms in the Finnish gambling legislation. Under the new rules, licenses must be issued for the provision of different gambling activities.
The Lottery Act also stipulates that the minimum gambling age for all forms of gambling, including sports betting, is 18 years old. A crucial thing to note is that Finnish punters are not required to pay taxes on their sports betting profits.
In 2021, the Finnish Parliament approved new reforms to the Lottery Act in an attempt to combat gambling problems and strengthen the position of the state-owned betting agency Veikkaus. The new rules include a payment blocking scheme, which will prevent Finnish punters from depositing funds to blacklisted betting sites. The new Lottery Act came into force on 1st January 2022, while the payment blocking scheme was introduced at the beginning of 2023.
Finland’s Gambling Monopoly is Against EU Laws
Finland is one of the member countries of the European Union, and as such, it should comply with EU laws on the free movement of services. In other words, the country should allow foreign operators to obtain local gambling licenses. But since Finland does not issue licenses to foreign operators, it is not allowed to block betting sites that accept Finnish punters.
In the past, the EU scolded several Nordic countries, including Sweden and Denmark, for upholding gambling monopolies. Finland’s gambling monopoly was also frowned upon by the EU. In 2020, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) announced that Finland is the only country in the EU that still keeps its gambling monopoly.
However, the country refused to dismantle its gambling monopoly. Finnish authorities explained that ending the gambling monopoly would have a negative effect on several organizations that rely on money raised from gambling.
In January 2023, Finland announced plans to launch an investigation and examine the possibility of ending Veikkaus’ gambling monopoly. Currently, offshore sportsbooks operate freely without paying taxes, while Veikkaus is bound to comply with all restrictions. The Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, explained that dismantling the gambling monopoly is in the best interest of the state and Finnish punters.
Is online betting legal in Finland?
Nearly all forms of gambling and sports betting are legal in Finland. However, the Finnish gambling market is subject to a monopoly held by the state-owned operator Veikkaus. But the laws do not prohibit Finnish punters from using the services of foreign sports betting sites. Therefore, Finns can join various sportsbooks licensed in foreign jurisdictions.
How to choose a sports betting site?
As mentioned earlier, Finnish punters can join any online sportsbook they like as long as it accepts sports fans from this country. There are many Finland-friendly betting sites, with some of them even providing customer support services in Finnish. Reliable betting sites are usually licensed by reputable authorities such as the Malta Gaming Commission and support safe payment methods. We advise our readers to read reviews from existing punters before joining an online sportsbook.
Which are the most popular sports among punters from Finland?
Winter sports are among the most popular among Finnish punters. These include cross-country skiing, ski jumping, and ice hockey. However, Finns are also fond of other sports such as football, floorball, bandy, athletics, basketball, and pesäpallo.
Which are the most reliable payment solutions in Finland?
Finnish punters can use their Visas and Mastercards to add funds to their sports betting accounts. Depositing funds via eWallets such as ecoPayz, Skrill, Neteller, Trustly, and PayPal is also an option. Many sports betting sites allow Finnish punters to fund their accounts via prepaid vouchers by Paysafecard. Deposits are usually cleared within several minutes, while withdrawals may take 5 to 7 business days, depending on the selected payment method.
Can I use my smartphone to bet on sports?
Yes, sports fans from Finland can place wagers on the sporting event that excites them the most even on the go. All betting sites aimed at Finnish punters are optimized to run smoothly on Android and iOS-based devices. Some even offer native apps that can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.