Finland E.U. Battle Over Online Gambling Laws

Published Friday, February 13, 2009 -

Finland is currently feeling some pressure from the other E.U. member countries to permit online gambling operations in the nation.

The free movement of services, within the E.U. is the issue at hand. The European Commission back in 2007 stated that Finland was not participating properly with the European Union regulations. Finland was given two months back in '07 to comply with the rulings or at least reply with a good reason as to why they could not or would not change their laws.

Finland has a basic monopoly on online gambling within it's borders. Veikkas is the one company that is permitted to provide gaming services to the Finnish online gambling consumer. Bureaucrats in Finland contend that they require a monopoly to keep order and control. This argument is not good enough for the European Commission who has begun to file E.U. agreement violations against Finland.

Veikkas a long established company in Finland founded in 1940 states on it's web page that it produces over 1,1 million EUR's from lottery revenues each day. Veikkaus contributes the bulk of its proceeds to the Finnish State, which distributes it further to Finnish arts, sports, science and youth work through the Finnish Ministry of Education.

Not to be intimidated by the European Commission, Finland has produced more provisions within it's laws to restrict the activities of gambling service providers as well as indirect marketers. Stiff jail terms are demanded and large fines for those found participating in the still illegal online gambling sector.

"These additional restrictions are, however, not aimed at enhancing consumer protection in a consistent and systematic manner, as they will not apply to the Finnish government's own gambling activities, which will still be allowed to conduct extensive and aggressive marketing campaigns," the spokesperson for European Gaming and Betting Association said.

EGBA notes,The Finnish Slot Machine Association or RAY, announced it's intention to launch an Internet poker site later this year. Sigrid Ligne, EGBA secretary general, said "This shows all too clearly that the Finnish authorities have for the past two years - during which the Commission has been delaying Finland's referral to the European Court of Justice - enhanced their protectionist legislation rather than removed it,"

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