Finland’s National Coalition Party (NCP), the country’s third-largest in Parliament, says that the country’s gambling monopoly system has “failed” to protect people from harm.
“Cross-border gaming through various digital channels has challenged the credibility of traditional monopolies. This has resulted in the exclusive system's market share in digital money gambling collapsing close to the critical 50 percent mark,” the party said in its alternative to the government’s 2023 budget.
In the budget, the NCP estimates that introducing a gambling licensing system would bolster the government’s annual available expenditure by €50m, although there is no indication of where the party got the estimate from.
The NCP is demanding solutions “as quickly as possible” to resolve what is called an “urgent” situation created by the proliferation of online gambling.
It proposes reforming the existing monopoly system in line with the re-regulation of gambling markets in Sweden and Denmark that created licensing systems.
Finland’s government budget proposal for 2023 totals €80.5bn, €15.6bn more than the 2022 budget. This increase in expenditure is driven by health and social services reform, according to the government statement.
“The reform will permanently increase the level of on-budget expenditure by around €13.9bn. However, the impact will be smaller in 2023, approximately €12.1bn, as the funding for the wellbeing services counties for January 2023 will be paid as early as December 2022,” the government said.
The announcement by the NCP makes it the latest influential stakeholder in the country to call for the end of the monopoly.
Veikkaus, the state-owned monopoly operator in Finland, announced in September that it was time to think about opening up the market.
An article in the newspaper Demokraatti, which is associated with the Democratic Party, suggested almost all parties, except for the Christian Democrats, are open to the idea of exploring a licensing system for gambling.
These parties acknowledged that any change would require further investigation and the introduction of new legislation, which could take years to implement, according to the newspaper.
However, a spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in November that its official position is still to back the monopoly.
Additionally, representatives from the regulator have consistently argued that the timing of the debate around the monopoly’s market share is interesting, considering the state-run monopoly can now sell its services abroad and new payment-blocking powers will come into force at the start of next year.