1. State-owned gambling in global competitive environment
Many Member States of the European Union (EU) have tackled the issue of gambling harms in brick-and-mortar venues and online by forbidding underage gambling, applying consumer protection means, and by preventing criminal activities. Gambling related national laws also decree e.g., on gambling marketing, online gambling operation, and citizens’ online gambling on licensed and unlicensed sites.
In this presentation, I will examine the impact of unlicensed online gambling operation on the prevention of gambling harms in Finland. As Finnish citizens can gamble on both licensed and unlicensed sites, the state-owned gambling company Veikkaus faces constant competition from foreign-based online gambling operators. To limit the impact of this international competition, Finland has reformed the national Lotteries Act by allowing the blocking of financial transactions between Finnish online gamblers and online gambling operators, which advertise their unlicensed gambling operator in mainland Finland. This is one of the newest measures to limit the availability of gambling to Finns. My qualitative study is based on individual interviews made among representatives of Veikkaus and public servants employed in different Finnish ministries between 2018 and 2019. At that time, Veikkaus’ operational strategy emphasized competitiveness and monopoly, whereas the public servants were concerned about the state-owned gambling company’s ownership steering and the prevention of gambling harms. I will start me presentation by comparing preventive measures in different Member States. Then, I will examine the benefits and the challenges of a monopolistic regime on the global online market.
I will conclude on the possible future of prevention of gambling harms on the Internet, including implications for translational research, practice or policy.