Finland is one of the most relaxed Scandinavian nations when it comes to gambling – great news for people living in the country.
Online betting and gambling is fully legal with licensed providers but many residents also use overseas bookmakers which although technically illegal is never enforced by the government.
Check out the best online betting sites for Finland below and a full breakdown of all the countries gambling laws.
Best Betting Sites For Finland
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All forms of gambling are legalised in Finland.
The Finnish Lotteries Act of 1966 is the main gambling legislation and is regularly amended and updated.
A monopoly exists between four companies who control all gambling within the country.
The government have directly stated that ‘it is not illegal for punters themselves to use overseas gambling sites’
Finnish players therefore have free reign to chose which betting site they use.
Gambling Legislation & Law Timeline
As mentioned above, the legal and legislative situation regarding gambling in Finland is mercifully simple. The following brief timeline, therefore, should give a fairly comprehensive overview:
1930s – Initial Developments
It was in the early 20th century that gambling really started to establish itself in Finland, and the real beginnings of the industry as it is today began to emerge in the 1930s. It was in 1933 that the government determined that gambling activities could only be operated by charitable organisations. Just five years later, RAY – one of modern Finland’s four gambling operators – was established and given authority over all casino type gambling.
1966 – Finnish Lotteries Act
Amended regularly since, it was in 1966 that the Finnish Lotteries Act was initially passed. In spite of its name, the act actually relates to basically all forms of gambling and essentially set up the legal and regulatory framework for the gambling industry which still exists to this day. This included the establishment of the separate monopolies for RAY, Veikkaus Oy, Fintoto Oy and PAF.
2002 – Finnish Act on Gaming
The rise of online gambling led to some conflict between Finland’s three mainland gambling organisations and PAF of the Åland Islands. That was because PAF could offer – and did begin to offer – their services to residents on the mainland itself over the internet. The 2002 Finnish Act on Gaming attempted to clarify the situation by awarding RAY a sole monopoly over online gambling on the mainland but didn’t go as far as to outlaw PAF also offering their services.
2015 – Ministry of the Interior Statement
Following the removal of certain overseas gambling apps from Apple’s app store in Finland in 2015, the Ministry of the Interior released a statement clarifying their position on gambling with overseas based sites. Whilst offering services to Finnish citizens is illegal, the statement claimed that
‘there are no solid plans to limit international sites’.
What’s more, it went on to state that…
‘online gamblers are not committing any crime when they play on foreign sites’.
Are Players Taxed On Winnings?
In the same way as the legality and regulation of gambling in Finland is surprisingly simple and easy to understand, so is the situation as regards the taxation of gambling winnings.
According to the Finnish tax authority, income arising from winning in a lottery (which in Finnish law actually means any form of gambling) is exempt from tax if it results from a lottery (gambling activity) operated within the laws of Finland or another EEA nation.
The only time when this exemption is not present is if a winning amount ‘has or should have the characterization [sic] of a payment paid in exchange for goods or services, or if it has or should have the characterization [sic] of wages’.
Recommended Deposit Methods
Whether gambling via one of Finland’s licensed and legal domestic providers or through an overseas based site, Finnish punters are always entirely and definitively within the law. What’s more, as explained above, there are no worries for them as regards taxation of winnings either.
As such, a full range of deposit methods are freely available to those punters without any need to worry about legality or tax. Depositing via debit or credit card, then, is generally the most sensible option as it provides both security and speed of transfer. E-wallet services, too, are popular and provide a degree of further privacy if this is desired.