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The Importance of Parliamentary Elections

Article authored by Antti Koivula

The Importance of Parliamentary Elections on the Industry

The following article, written by Antti Koivula, our contributor for Finland, from Legal Gaming Attorneys at Law will provide in a nutshell the importance of these elections from the perspective of the upcoming system change.

First and foremost, it should be highlighted that there was already a widespread political agreement that a partial licensing system (including online casino games and online betting) is the direction in which Finland will head in the future and for that reason the outcome of the elections was not crucial. That being said, the outcome of the elections does have an impact on what the licensing system will look like and what the schedule will be.

The National Coalition party won the elections and became the biggest parliamentary party. This means that they are the ones who will now initiate governmental negotiations with the other parties and they also get the PM seat. The National Coalition party has been the loudest regarding igaming matters – they have publicly stated on several occasions that dismantling the gambling monopoly will happen during the parliamentary term of 2023-2027 if they have something to say on the matter. The National Coalition party is liberal-conservative, and among other things, they emphasize free market principles. With them in charge the likelihood of Finland creating a balanced licensing system, which is not overly strict and allows business to bloom, is the greatest. They are also the ones who are pushing for the fastest change.

Another positive thing from the perspective of the system change is that in overall the left-wing parties, who formed the previous government, suffered a considerable loss. In regards to the on-going change even the left-wing parties have recognized the need for change, but in general they’ve been strong supporters of state monopolies for ideological reasons and dismantling the gambling policy is much more delicate matter for them than to the right-wing parties.

The outcome of the upcoming governmental negotiations will have importance too. In order to form a majority government, the National Coalition party has basically two options: either to seek coalition with the other right-wing parties or with the left-wing parties. From the igaming perspective the first option would be optimal, as the right-wing parties do not have ideological obstacles of opening the market but the vice versa. On the other hand, coalition with the left-wing parties would not be a catastrophe either, but it could potentially slow down the process and the resulting licensing system would likely be less business friendly.