Tuesday April 13, 2021

Govt team mulls overhauling gambling system

Published : 27 Feb 2021, 01:08

Updated : 27 Feb 2021, 10:31

  DF Report

Photo Source: Veikkaus.

A working group sets as its primary option a comprehensive overhaul that would place gambling proceeds within the scope of universal coverage in central government revenue and existing beneficiaries would be under the spending limits procedure.

The working group completed a study on the effects of diminished proceeds from gambling activities and published the report on Friday, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and the Ministry of the Interior in a joint press release. The study examined four options for developing the Finnish gambling system.

The harmful effects of gambling are considered severe in terms of the wellbeing of society. For this reason, it was deemed necessary to intervene by legislative means and to introduce more measures to make gambling more accountable. Moreover, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, slot machines have been kept closed.

The Finnish National Lottery, Veikkaus Oy, estimates that the annual central government proceeds from gambling services will fall by around EUR 300 million as a result of these measures. As the harmful effects of gambling are being reduced, it also means that the funding received by beneficiaries from gambling proceeds will diminish.

This puts the present system in a challenging situation where we ought to be able to both curb the harmful effects of gambling and safeguard the future of civil society and other beneficiaries.

The working group proposes four different options for the future of the Finnish gambling system:

The systems include keeping the current system and hope that it is sufficient, a one-off solution where the transfer to a universal budget takes place in one go and all earmarking is removed, a comprehensive overhaul starting in early 2024, carefully preparing the transfer of revenue to universal coverage and placing expenditure within the scope of spending limits budgeting, and a partial reform, where part of the expenditure is gradually transferred to universal coverage and a part remains earmarked and covered by gambling proceeds.