Gambling in Finland: problem gambling in the context of a national monopoly in the European Union

Abstract

Aim:
To describe and analyse the Finnish gambling market, regulatory system and the state of gambling research as well as the treatment system in operation for problem gamblers.

Method:
A review of the literature and official documents relating to gambling in Finland, focusing primarily on the 1990s and 2000s.

Results:
Only in recent years have gambling problems become a major issue for public debate in Finland. One reason for the increase in activity to address gambling problems is that, after Finland became a member of the European Union in 1995, the Finnish state gambling monopoly and its compatibility with European Union (EU) regulations have been questioned repeatedly. Since 2000, the Finnish government has put significant new resources into the research as well as the prevention and treatment of gambling problems. The resources grew from almost nothing to several million Euros in less than 10 years. This could be seen as an attempt to protect the national gambling monopoly system by showing that the Finnish monopoly system meets EU requirements.

Conclusions:
Since joining the European Union in 1995, the Finnish government has been able to maintain its gambling monopoly by providing substantial resources to signal a commitment to minimizing problem gambling.

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