Online gambling is the present and future of gaming in the world; the online gambling market is valued at $46 billion and is projected to reach $94 billion by 2024.
For most casual gambling fans, Finland may not be a big draw like the United States. However, the Nordic country holds its own fairly well in the global market. Finns are known to enjoy gambling a lot and find themselves near the top in several gambling metrics, and this has transferred into online gambling. Online gambling in Finland has seen a 10% year-on-year rise. The lack of casinos in Finland (it only has 16 casinos) makes online gambling a very attractive alternative for Finns.
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64% of American adults gamble at least once a year but that figure is overshadowed by the 74% in Finland. The drop off in American participation is to be expected though considering gambling regulation is different among American states.
In both countries, higher percentages of men gamble than women but the difference is not as wide as people would expect. 65% of male gamblers gamble online more than once a month, almost double the rate of women in America.
Both countries share a similar age range for gambling with the average gambling age being in the low 40s. For gambling addiction, 1.1% of Finnish people were identified as problem gamblers while in America it is a much bigger problem at 1.6%
Online gambling laws in Finland are generally less suffocating than in the U.S. despite the government maintaining a monopoly. It is the only country to do so in Europe despite several attempts from the EU to privatize gambling. The industry has been regulated by three bodies under one umbrella body named Veikkaus. In the U.S., gambling is legal at the national level but the nitty-gritty of gambling regulation is decentralized. States are allowed to decide what games are legalized in their area. Illegal gambling is seen as a serious crime in the United States and attracts a prison sentence of almost 5 years and a monetary fine.
Offshore gambling is one of the perks that followed the coming of iGaming. It allows people to place bets on foreign betting sites unregistered in their home country. Both countries differ in their legislation on offshore sites. It is treated as a serious crime in the United States. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 makes it illegal for financial institutions to process or accept payments for unlawful gambling. In Finland, offshore sites are not allowed to offer their services to citizens, but citizens can patronize them if they wish. This makes offshore gambling thrive in the country. In 2020, 16.4% of Finland’s online gambling revenue, equivalent to €105 million in taxable revenue, was spent by Finns on international sites.
Both countries are heavily invested in sports betting, Finland to a larger extent. There are a wide variety of sports to choose from like soccer, basketball and racing. So it was no surprise that the resumption of several sports leagues across the globe contributed a lot to online gambling recovering some of its losses in the second half of 2020. In the United States, sports betting is more of a work in progress, having only been recently legalized nationally. Eleven states have already legalized it with more to follow and the industry is growing at an exponential rate.
In Finland, the game with the highest activity is the lottery. Over 70% of the Finnish population play Veikkaus Lotto regularly. In America, lotteries are played by 57%. Public participation is again affected by legal issues and regulations. Slots are very popular in both countries.