Last week the news from Finland was there would be a ban on online gambling. Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs reported that online gamblers could claim back their losses in a new amendment proposal.
Now the Minister of Culture and Sports, Stefan Wallin as made a proposal that could introduce national online poker for Finland. In defense of his proposal Wallin said that the current system in place is, in his words, Ã¢â‚¬Å“unsatisfactoryÃ¢â‚¬Â. He also points to increasing cases of reported problem gambling but his most crucial point is that revenue from current online gambling operations are going to companies operating outside Finland in foreign tax havens.
Stefan Wallin wants to see Veikkaus or the Finnish Slot Machine Association (RAY) to take the control and organize online gaming in Finland. He believes as a nation Finland can take a more active role in preventing underage gambling and take the profits and channel them to Ã¢â‚¬Å“benefit civic society.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wallin said, “It is difficult to halt the rise in the popularity of online poker. It would be better to offer players a legal and responsible alternative. Responsibility would mean setting an 18 age limit and requiring players to identify themselves.”
Kari Paaso a high ranking official in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health does not share WallinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s view. In an interview with gambling intelligence.com, Paaso said,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If online gambling is harmful to Finnish citizens, we will be clear about it and offer no online gambling opportunities,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The government will not offer something like the Swedish online poker site. It does not seem right, on the one hand offering online poker to your citizens, and on the other hand blocking others from doing the same.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Both sides are pointing to Svenska Spel as anpoint in their argument. Wallin saying that the SwedenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s state run gambling site has proven to be effective and a great success, Passo, though says they have done little to reduce the problem gambling within Sweden.
Stefan WallinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ministry of Culture and Sports controls the state-gaming monopoly which lead Paaso to comment,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the moment the idea of a national poker site is just one persons opinion but as Minister for Culture and Sports, his opinion is an important one.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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