Veikkaus, the state-run company that runs lottery and sports betting operations in Finland, is proposing the establishment of a Finnish Internet poker game. The state-run Slot Machine Association RAY and the Gambling Forum take a sharply negative view of the proposal, warning that it could lead to more compulsive gambling.
Matti Ahde, the chairman of the Gambling Forum, called for a ban on Internet poker – or at the very least, sharp restrictions on it. Currently, playing on-line poker is legal in Finland, but marketing it is illegal.
Tens of thousands of Finns play on-line poker on websites in Malta and Gibraltar, as well as on the website of the PAF, the Slot Machine Association of the semi-autonomous Åland Islands.
Currently the Finnish Slot Machine Association, RAY, is the only entity that could legally establish Internet poker, because poker is a casino game, in which the association has a monopoly in mainland Finland. Therefore, the establishment of on-line poker would require other a change of heart on the part of RAY, or a change in legislation.