Scandinavian Countries Shift Towards Account-Based Play

Finland, Denmark and Norway are introducing changes in their gambling industries to raise the level of player protection, and the common theme among all three is a shift to account-based play.

Pilot Age Verification Project Starting in Finland

Earlier this week, Finland’s state-owned operator Veikkaus announced it would be starting a trial of account-based play for its slot machines, on top of the already announced mandatory age verification checks across all of its Feel Vegas slot machine venues and Pelaamo gaming arcades, starting January 2021.

The pilot project that would begin this month will introduce the verification checks to around 100 slot machine venues across the country, and players will have to use their Veikkaus card, an approved mobile app or a bank card connected to Veikkaus’ customer database for the identification.

Sikkert Spil ID Cards Introduced in Denmark

Danske Spil, a provider of entertainment services in Denmark, became the second Scandinavian gambling operator to introduce account-based play, as it began rolling out branded ID cards for players, which they would have to show inside the operator’s retail outlets where Tipps or Oddsets sports betting products are offered.

The Sikkert Spil (which means “safe play” in Danish) ID card will be a verification tool, either as a card, or in an app, and will be required at kiosks, supermarkets, petrol stations and other premises, and it will become obligatory for all Danske Spil retail outlets effective October 31.

The safe play card implementation seeks to fulfill several objectives, with the overarching theme being to ensure safer gambling. The elimination of anonymous betting will eliminate governmental concerns regarding underage activities, and will provide a higher level of transparency and opportunities to follow the cash trail for match-fixing allegations. In addition, the ability to analyze patterns in gambling behavior would allow the identification of gambling addiction in its early stages.

Provisions for Account-Based Play Suggested in Norway

Meanwhile in Norway, the gambling regulatory body Lotteritilsynet, in a response to a consultation from the Ministry of Culture, suggested the industry should switch to account-based play across all products. Seeking to consolidate the Lottery Act, Gambling Act, and Totalisator Act into one regulatory framework, the Ministry initiated in June gambling reform consultations.

Lotteritilsynet responded that the suggested changes would raise the level of player protection in the industry, and asked for a legal provision to be added which would allow gambling only for players who have registered an account with a legal provider. Regarding operators Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, the regulator noted they should have access to a user’s gambling activity so that they can ensure consumer protection.

The regulatory body suggested another provision be included that would ban direct competition to state-owned operators, pointing out that direct competition would expose customers to risks. The online casino of Norsk Tipping, the regulator noted, was introduced with strict protection controls, and Lotteritilsynet insisted on Norsk Tipping being the sole provider of such games.

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