Betting on harness racing, called Toto, is a popular form of gambling in Finland / Lehtikuva


Gambling has been a popular activity across Europe as well as the rest of the world for years now. No matter how hard some governments tried to prevent their residents from gambling, players still managed to find a way to play their favourite games of chance.

However, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has recently reported that people from Finland started looking at gambling with different eyes.

Namely, several reasons have caused a shift in the approach to the activity, which further resulted in decreased interest and practice of gambling in both prominent land-based venues and online casinos.

What Has Changed?

Around five years ago, the residents of Finland displayed a pretty much positive attitude toward the gambling industry. Fast forward to 2019, and we see a great deal of those same people frowning upon all sorts of gambling. One can’t help but wonder what could have possibly happened to make this transition from yay to nay in such a short period.

We have managed to get several different answers to that question, the first one being the pressure by the media. Anne Salonen, a senior researcher at the Institute thinks that gambling addiction has been promoted in the media so much that it reached many people rapidly. 

Another reason might be an advertisement by the Finnish state-owned gambling monopoly. The ad in question included gamblers getting a blessing from their therapist to keep up with this highly addictive activity.

This created a huge scandal after which Finnish politicians had to consider tightening up gambling restrictions.


What Do Finnish People Want?

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare created a survey to determine the current attitude of Finnish people on gambling. More than 90% of people stated that gambling should not be promoted, and around 70% thought that gambling is already over-spread in the country. 

Turns out, they are not so far from the truth, as the weekly lottery, scratchcards, slot machines, and many other gambling forms can be seen not only in gambling designated venues, but also convenience stores and grocery shops everywhere around Finland. 

All these forms of gambling cause Finnish residents to spend a lot of money on this activity. Still, the biggest contributor to gambling availability in the country is the government owned entity that makes a profit of €1 billion and singles out €200 million for taxes.  

On the other hand, 70% of people in Finland don’t think the government should ban gambling as such. Furthermore, 36% consider that even gambling on offshore sites should be let alone. 

In other words, those who take part in gambling activities don’t find it necessary to put a stop to games of chance, but they probably wouldn’t mind much if some restrictions were put into place.


How Is Gambling Affecting Young Adults in Finland?

Finland has raised the bar when it comes to the legal gambling age in the country. Ten years ago, anyone who was at least 15 could have played slot machine games. Today, the minimum gambling age is 18, which keeps young adults away from gambling three years longer.

Growing up knowing that gambling is out of reach until you are 18 has made young adults in Finland turn to some other activities rather than visiting gambling venues. Today, these young people don’t take gambling so lightly and know how to practice it in moderation. 

Consequently, young people play games of chance less than before, and the number of problem gamblers has decreased as well. If young people stay true to their current principles, Finland might not need to put into action any particular restrictive measure or ban gambling in the future.