Reaching up into the Arctic Circle, Finland is a sparsely populated country most famous for its stunning natural beauty, frequent and dramatic sightings of the Northern Lights, and being the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Rich in culture and history, the country’s gaming industry is not as well known. It cannot lay claim to being a large or wide-spread industry, but it does boast notable casinos that attract both visitors and locals alike.
Casino Helsinki and PAF Casino are two of the most popular. Another very popular form of betting is horse racing, which takes place at a number of tracks around the country; one of the most popular being Teivo Racetrack in Tampere, which sees approximately 45 race meetings annually.
Players need to be at least 18 years old.
Gambling in Finland
Gambling in Finland is tightly controlled by the country’s Lotteries Act, and the industry is run on something of a monopoly system. The reason given for this is that the system can promote fair play, limit or control gambling-related societal and health issues, and protect players legally.
On the mainland, Fintoto, Ray, and Veikkaus are the only three operators that can organise gaming and casinos. The Åland Islands are an autonomous region, where all gaming is organised by PAF.
Such competition restriction is allowed under European Union rules, as long as that monopoly is part of a consistent, real effort in aiming to restrict dangers.
The profits reaped by each of Finland’s casino and gaming operators are distributed by specific government ministries.
The distribution of Fintoto’s profits is decided upon by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The past has seen these funds benefit equestrian sports betting and horse breeding in the country.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health distributes the profits earned by Ray. The casino and gaming operator does make suggestions for the allocation of funds, which are often used for rehabilitating war veterans, assisting less privileged members of society, and supporting social and other welfare organisations.
The profits made by Veikkaus are allocated by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and are often used to support and develop the arts, science, sport, and youth work.
Finland’s premier gaming destination, Casino Helsinki is more than just a casino floor with slots and tables. The venue is one of the country’s most popular entertainment destinations, and features restaurants, a sports bar, live music and shows, lifestyle events, and social occasions.
In the casino proper, players have a choice of more than 300 slots and video poker machines, and more than 20 games tables which feature games such as blackjack, Punto Banco, Russian Poker, Dynamic Poker Pro, and roulette. The venue is renowned for its regular poker tournaments.
The casino opens at noon every day, with the lower level tables opening just after 1pm. It closes at 4am.
Another of Finland’s top casinos is PAF Casino in Mariehamn. It’s found next to the city’s top nightclub in Hotel Arkipelag.
The casino has been operational since June 2010, and has already contributed more than €160 million to various causes and initiatives. It’s open from 10am until 1am on weekdays, and from 10am until 3am on weekends.
Its gaming offerings include slots, real money blackjack, poker, Oasis Stud Poker, and roulette.