The company that operates all casino and slot machine gaming in Finland plans to launch a national online gaming service sometime next year. The announcement follows the completion of the latest report in the reform process of the Finnish Lotteries Act, according to Finnish news service Helsingen Sanomat.
Currently, Finland has three distinct monopoly operators. RAY provides casino and slot machine gaming. Veikkaus handles lottery and Fintoto deals with betting on horse racing. Veikkaus currently offers some tote games, but will no longer be allowed to when new rules take effect.
The online service from RAY will hold a monopoly license. Veikkaus and Fintoto already provide their online products under similar terms.
According to Janne Perakyla, director of gaming operations at RAY, there are at present 200,000 Finns participating in online gaming. He predicts RAY will be able to capture between 25 percent and 50 percent of that market.
Although gaming should be ready to start by 2010, some proposed amendments dealing with the prevention of compulsive gambling, if passed, would not take effect until 2012.
The latest report stipulates that RAY will have to check the age and identity of every player against the national population register, to ensure players are over 18 and to prevent gambling using credit. Players also will have access to independent gaming management tools. Limits on the amount players may bet will be set by Finnish authorities.