May 16, 2024 3 min read


Veikkaus Exec Predicts Finland Will Issue Licenses in September 2026

The licensing is necessary for the transition of the country from a monopoly to an open market gambling model

Currently, Finland’s gambling market operates under a monopoly model. This means that all gambling activities, including sports betting and iGaming, are offered by Veikkaus, the state-owned gambling operator.

However, amid talks about a major restructuring of the sector, including a shift from gambling monopoly, the gambling industry is expected to look quite different in a couple of years. A partial multi-license system is expected to be implemented in Finland by 2026, or the next two years.

In light of this major upcoming change, many wonder when the country will start issuing licenses to gambling operators interested in entering the market. This is precisely one of the concerns that was addressed by Jan Hagelberg, Veikkaus’ SVP of international business, during a panel that was a part of the NEXT Summit Valetta.

Details regarding the debate emerged from The panel that saw the participation of Hagelberg was called “the State of Play of Gaming in Finland,” and included more experts who joined the discussion. Notably, Veikkaus’ SVP of international business reiterated the previously announced schedule for awarding licenses, outlining that this is expected in September 2026.

When it comes to the schedule, I have the same view… I’ve said that the license will be given in September 2026. So, I stick to that,

Jan Hagelberg, SVP of international business at Veikkaus

Moving to an Open Gambling Market Presents Obstacles

The transition from a monopoly to an open market is expected to bring significant benefits to the market and help it grow. Similar is the expectation of Hagelberg, who predicted that once Finland opens its gambling market, it will flourish and expand.

Still, the executive added: “We know the business and there are a lot of things going on: technological changes, responsibilities, platforms, new talent from companies such as Kindred, I’ve recruited people from PokerStars.” Finally, Hagelberg said that there’s a lot of outstanding work on “all fronts.”

Addressing challenges that may emerge for the Finish market, Antti Koivula, a market expert and legal advisor with Legal Gaming Attorneys at Law, revealed that despite the shift from a monopoly to an open market, blocking enforced by payment service providers may remain.

Such payment blocks help prevent consumers from depositing money with unlicensed or illegal gambling operators. The method is not uncommon for the sector and helps many countries channel more players toward the legal industry by restricting the capability of depositing funds with unlicensed operators.

In the broader context of the overhaul of the Finnish market, channelization needs improvement. This is one of the reasons why the country considered shifting from a monopoly-led model.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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