Finland might not be the first nation you’d think of when it comes to online gambling or gaming. Instead, it’s likely that you’d tend to lean towards Las Vegas, Macao, Monte Carlo, or the UK as gambling powerhouses. Meanwhile, China, South Korea, and Japan epitomize modern gaming, particularly in the mobile space. After all, the biggest game in India, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, was developed by a South Korean team and backed by a Chinese publisher.
Still, gaming of both of these popular lines is going strong in Finland, but the state of play for online casinos and mobile gaming couldn’t contrast more. In Finland, the market sees a large chunk of its player base seek international options, while Finnish mobile game producers rank among the biggest and best in the world. So, why do these two gaming industries differ so greatly in Finland?
Plenty of options overseas in iGaming
Technically, Finland’s gambling scene is run by a government-backed monopoly. Like many others on the European continent, this doesn’t have enough competition to feel the need to continually improve and advance. It still gets the glut of online Finnish bets, but there’s a distinct portion that has left the monopoly behind to explore what else the internet has to offer, be it the latest games or better odds and returns.
Now, the best online casinos (‘parhaat nettikasinot‘) have noticed the desire for Finns to play overseas, so they’ve tailored the offering to suit the trend. The key to these sites becoming the best for Finnish players is that game winnings are tax-free in the EEA, they’re available in Finland’s online space, and there are at least 1,000 games on each platform. These factors combine to make a more appealing gambling offer than the monopoly. In addition, the role of the online directory is to highlight the competitors on the market and outline their advantages and disadvantages plainly: online casinos know that to improve their ranking and potentially gain new players, they should conform to provide good localization, reliable services, and a guarantee of backing from a European Gaming License.
In 2021, €0.4 billion of Finland’s total gross gambling revenue of €1.7 billion went to online offshore providers. Compare that to the €0.7 billion that constituted the online onshore offering, and it’s clear that a good third of Finnish players are finding that the grass is greener on the other side. As noted by the Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, new Finnish gambling reforms admit that many of Finland’s gamblers prefer other sites to the state-run monopoly.
In mobile gaming, the world comes to Finland
Through several innovative development studios, Finland became one of the fastest movers and one of the first major beneficiaries of the early smartphone gaming market. Even now, Finland remains home to many of the most popular games and franchises and creates some of the core pillars of the emerging mobile eSports scene. All of this has led to the Finnish gaming industry increasing to €2.4 billion in 2020.
Still top of the class is Supercell. The Helsinki-based company has only released five mobile games fully: Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach, Hay Day, and Brawl Stars. However, each of these has earned huge player bases, with Clash Royale becoming a key eSports title. Alongside Supercell stands Rovio Entertainment, the Espoo-based studio behind the almighty Angry Birds franchise that has transcended mobile gaming and moved into cinema and Lego.
While Finnish online gamblers are looking at the wider space of the entertainment platforms, mobile gamers from around the world continue to turn to Finnish developers for smartphone action.