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Citizen initiative to relocate gambling machines only to casino, gamming halls

Published : 16 Apr 2019, 02:18

  By Norfex Holding Ltd

A citizen initiatives seeking removal of gambling machines from shops, kiosks, restaurants and service stations in Finland is gaining supports from the people day by day.

The initiative, which has launched on March 20, 2019 already gained 11,927 signatures till April 15, just less than one month, suggested that gambling machines can only be played in casinos and special controlled gaming halls, according to the source of Citizen Initiative page of the ministry of Justice.

The initiative needs to gain at least 50 thousands signatures in favour of it till September 20, 2019 to be forwarded to the parliament for further consideration.

A total of about 18,500 slot machines were set up at different places in the country such as shops, kiosks and service stations in Finland, where people need to go frequently for daily activities.

The citizen initiative has been launched at the time when the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) raised demand for bringing the gambling related advertisement under regulation process pointing out its harmful aspect on health ground, according to a recent report of National broadcaster Yle.

The THL said that the advertisement of gambling should be regulated like other harmful products such as alcohol and tobacco.

Finland imposed ban on advertising of tobacco products in 1976, and banned advertising of alcohol products in in 2015.

Only A state-run monopoly gambling organization has the legal authority to run gambling in Finland and runs advertisement in this regard.

Although people can legally participate in the international online gamblings such as nettikasino, Mr Bet and casinos Finland, its marketing is also prohibited in the country.

The gambling machines are considered as a high risky product that create gambling addiction among the people, including the youths.

Gambling addiction is a compulsive behavior with many similarities to material addictions, such as alcohol and drug addiction, said the citizen initiative pointing out the reason behind launching the move.

“The disadvantages of gambling are the disadvantages associated with health, economy, emotional life, relationships, work, studying, and even neglect of children, crime, and suicide. In addition to gamblers, they also suffer from their relatives. According to demographic surveys, it is estimated that there are 124,000 gambling problems in Finland. Some 900,000 Finns are also affected by gambling damage, including players' relatives. At risk level, about 15% of Finns play games of chance,” said the initiative as reasons.

Although gambling is forbidden for minors, number of under aged people are found to participate gambling in many shopping stores.

A survey conducted in a shopping mall in 2017 found that 88% of young people were allowed to play gambling without age verification.

NB: people only above 18 years are allowed to gambling. Gambling can be harmful if not controlled.