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In Finland, players prefer to play at unlicensed casinos for interactive gambling with real money. It has many advantages, among them being a variety of games, a quicker sign up process, and more deposit and withdrawal methods.
In this article:
- we list the best Finnish Unlicensed Casinos
- discuss the advantages and disadvantages of playing at unlicensed casinos
- outline how to choose an unlicensed casino
- compare Player Winnings at unlicensed and licensed casinos
- Review Finland’s best land based casinos
Best Unlicensed Casinos in Finland
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What are Unlicensed Casinos
Unlicensed casinos are also known as offshore casinos. Technically offshore casinos are NOT unlicensed, with the majority having obtained a “license” in gambling jurisdictions such as Malta, Estonia, Gibraltar and even the UK. Yes, in the eyes of the local laws of Finland these casinos are considered to be unlicensed, BUT they are in fact licensed offshore.
Each offshore jurisdiction has their own regulations that a casino must abide by. These regulations are enforceable and each casino is required to be compliant.
The top offshore authorities are Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Curaçao e-Gaming. All three are well regarded and operate legitimate online casinos from their jurisdictions.
Malta Gaming Authority
The Malta Gaming Authority was founded in 2001, fast becoming one of the most reputable jurisdictions for offshore casino licensing. Its requirements for licensed casinos includes player accounts audited for anti-money laundering, third party gaming software reviewed and checked for fairness, review of processes to ensure players are not being defrauded.
For Finnish players the MGA is the most sought after unlicensed casino jurisdiction. It allows for tax free winnings, a wider range of gaming selection and payment methods.
UK Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission was founded in 2007. The original intention of the UK Government was to create the UKGC specifically however any casino operator could in theory apply. Of course, any players that were no UK citizens, in theory, could not be protected by the UKGC.
As a result, most online casinos will obtain two licenses, one from MGA and the other from the UKGC. Though a UKGC license does not impact a Finnish player, it does show that a casino operator is reputable, honest and looking to fulfil all aspects of the law with an additional license.
Curacao eGaming License
The Curacao eGaming license was founded in 1996, and is one of the oldest jurisdictions to offer online casino licenses. As a pioneer in this industry, it has an established reputation of ensuring that online casino operators are held to account through monitoring of activities.
This jurisdiction is not as stringent as the MGA or the UKGC, and therefore it is the least sought after jurisdiction for Finnish players.
Legality of playing at Unlicensed Casinos
As a Finnish player there are no laws that prevent you from playing at an unlicensed casino. Yes, there are gambling laws, notably the Lotteries Act (1047/2001), however this Act is relevant to casino operators only. No where in the legislation is there mention of players being penalised or fined for playing at unlicensed casinos.
It is therefore the obligation of a casino operator to abide by the Lotteries Act (1047/2001) or the jurisdiction in which it has obtained a license from. For unlicensed casinos, they are not permitted to advertise directly to Finnish players.
To this day, there has been no account of any player from Finland banned, penalised or fined by the Government. Later, we demonstrate statistically that more players choose to play at unlicensed casinos, which is indicative of the loose regulation placed on unlicensed casinos.
Finnish players choose to play at unlicensed casinos because of the attractive benefits
The most common reason for choosing to play at an unlicensed casino is the quick sign up process. Unlicensed casinos offer play without registration for Finnish player, and therefore these casinos are also known as Quick Casinos.
A Quick Casino removes the lengthy registration process that a licensed casino forces players to go through. Quick Casinos can complete an account setup within minutes, is hassle free, and open to all Finnish players.
As part of the quick sign up process anonymity is guaranteed. Quick Casinos do not need any personal information or bank details.
Welcome Bonuses and Promotions
Welcome Bonuses and Special Promotions occur more regularly at unlicensed casinos. Because the gambling market is open, unlicensed casinos are competing against each other to attract VIP and casual players. This is a huge bonus for you as a Finnish player. On the other hand, licensed casinos do not need to compete as hard for their market share, and therefore the perks are not as rewarding as unlicensed. The preference to unlicensed casinos can be see in the gross winnings, especially for poker players.
Player betting amounts are not capped at unlicensed casinos. This means, as a player, you are free to play at many unlicensed casinos and as many games as you like, without the need to monitor your account balance.
Safe and Secure
Unlicensed casinos are safe and secure if they are licensed at offshore jurisdictions. Make sure you select unlicensed casinos that comply with the MGA. The MGA has the added benefits of tax free winnings because it belongs in the EU.
Game variety maybe limited
There are some gaming providers that stick to the letter of the law, and won’t allow players from Finland to use their software. Accordingly, you may find that some unlicensed casinos won’t have Microgaming or NetEnt games. Fortunately, big name software providers such as Real Time Gaming are available.
Customer Service could be poor
Though rare, some unlicensed casinos may provide poor customer service. Often, it will be just a case of getting the wrong customer service office, which will happen from time to time. And these instances won’t be just limited to unlicensed casinos, but to any casino. Nevertheless, there is a risk that you could end up with a poor customer service experience, just as likely any e-commerce provider.
Unreputable Offshore Licensed Casinos
Make sure you choose from our recommended list of unlicensed casinos and avoid those with bad reputations. Often these are new casinos, untried and untested, but offer extremely attractive Welcome packages, cashbacks, free spins and other lucrative promotions.
Slow processing of winnings
A risk at playing at some unlicensed casinos is the slow withdrawal process, especially if you have won. Unfortunately, this is often the case, especially if you have not provided all the documentation that is required for a withdrawal. Although a sign up process may be fast at a Quick Casino, the withdrawal process does normally take more time because the safeguards put in place by the casino..
Self Exclusion Program
There is no mandatory self exclusion program. Having said that, there are many unlicensed casinos that offer self exclusion services. We strongly advocate that players gamble responsibly, and to utilise self exclusion programs when necessary.
Unlicensed Casino Winnings in 2021
More players choose to play at Unlicensed Casinos
|Games||Veikkaus €m||Unlicensed Casinos €m|
According to H2 Gambling Capital, their collated gambling data for Finnish players shows that more are playing at unlicensed casinos than with Veikkaus for 2021.
Casino table and slots games are played more at unlicensed casinos than licensed by a difference of €8.6m.
This is by no means an insignificant difference, however when looking at poker players, it is clear that unlicensed poker operators are preferred to Veikkaus poker.
The difference for poker is coincidentally also €8.6m (same as casino table and slots) but the percentage difference is a huge at 88%!
Bingo at unlicensed casinos is also clearly favored than at licensed venues.
How to Choose an Unlicensed Casino
There’s a lot to consider when finding and choosing a Finnish Unlicensed Casino. Some factors will come down to individual player preferences, but there are some overarching factors that all players should look out for.
Your casino of choice should at least cater for the Finnish player and is translated into Finnish. There are even casinos that are Finnish themed and named, and even better the games themselves are also conducted in Finnish. These games are more appropriate for Live Dealer, and other table games that are hosted.
Staying along the lines of Finnish, customer service is more favourable if conducted in Finnish. It certainly helps to resolve any questions or issue in your own language.
Tax Free Winnings
The most ideal unlicensed casino is one that is under the jurisdiction of Malta. The MGA falls in the EU treaty of tax, and therefore winnings are tax free for Finnish players.
Curacao casinos are not tax free for Finnish players and therefore are not the preferred choice of unlicensed casinos.
Bear in mind, the tax rules for cryptocurrencies are separate to winnings at a casino, and will have other tax implications. So if you win with cryptocurrency at an MGA licensed casino, you might still need to pay taxes due to the cryptocurrency aspect.
What are Licensed Casinos
The gambling landscape in Finland is quite liberal, however any licensed casino gambling in Finland is monopolised under the State designated operator Veikkaus. This is unlike other countries in the EU which disperses the authority of gambling between various institutions and does not concentrate it within one government body.
As a player, there is a lot of freedom with many forms of gambling that you can place a bet on. But if you want to be an onshore licensed gambling operator unfortunately the laws do not allow you to do so. Finland has vested all gambling authority to the State owned Veikkaus, with a scope that is broad and far reaching.
Veikkaus not only has the authority to manage licensing for a wide range of gaming including betting, casinos, poker and lottery, but also the distribution whether it be land based, online, corporate or small business. No form of gambling or any part of the gambling process is out of the scope of Veikkaus.
Through the Veikkaus licensing arrangement there are many rules and regulations that distributors and players must abide by. These include a cap of just over 10,000 physical slot machines available in the country, and applying a player maximum loss for interactive gaming for casino table games, bingo and lottery games of €500 per day with an aggregate monthly loss limit at €2,000 (interestingly interactive poker has no maximum loss limits). Other requirements are applied to player verification and deposit and withdrawal methods which are stringent and restrictive.
Driven by an inefficient sign up process with layers of compliance, a narrow selection of gaming, and poor playing experience, it is of no surprise that over 50% of Finnish players prefer to play at unlicensed casinos rather than licensed.
Finnish Land Based Casinos Reviewed
Unfortunately there are no unlicensed land based casinos in Finland. Therefore you will find quite a few players rules and regulations that you will need to abide by.
In addition the choice of land based casinos are limited. There are only two land based casinos to choose from that are owned and operated by Veikkaus – Casino Helsinki and Casino Tampere.
Of the two, Casino Helsinki is easily the preferred venue.
Avoid make these mistakes
The only real international casino in Finland that accepts foreigners and tourists from abroad. Has a great blend of gaming, food and drinks and an entertainment venue, but there are many aspects that you should be aware of prior to playing at Casino Helsinki.
High Minimum Games
Don’t expect Vegas style glitz and glamour ambience, but rather a cosy and comfy two floors of gaming. Games are mostly slot machines and poker tables, followed by variations of roulette and blackjack. Other games include keno and scratch off tickets. In addition, if you are into sports, there is a sports book to place a few wagers.
Sadly, table game minimum bets are quite high, so if you are looking for low minimums, you will be disappointed. Slot machines are also noticeably very tight, much tighter than online unlicensed casinos which have better returns and lower minimum betting.
Bags in Cloakroom – Not ideal for Women
All players are asked to leave their jackets and bags at the cloakroom. Sometimes security is loose with this rule, however it is usually enforced.
** Ladies take note** make sure you are aware of this rule because there may be personal items that will not want to leave in your bag. If you do not have any deep pockets, you will be left in a dilemma – either do not enter the casino, or leave your bag in the cloakroom hoping you won’t need your personal items urgently.
Euros are the only accepted currency at the casino with notes between 5 EUR to 500 EUR (no coins are accepted).
EURO to Table Chips at Cashier Counter Only
When playing table games, you cannot exchange your Euros for table game chips, you have to go to the cashier counter in order to do so. Slightly inconvenient when compared to other international casinos.
Dress Code is Smart Casual
Players are required to dress in smart casual, no shorts and open shoes are allowed to be worn.
Alcohol – Don’t Appear to be Drunk
Do not drink excessively, because security is strict with monitoring sobriety. Take it easy on the alcohol, and always appear to be sober. There have been instances where security has escorted players who appear to be drunk yet have had only one or two drinks.
Closing Time 2am or 4am
This is NOT at 24/7 casino.
Closing time is 2am Sunday to Thursday and 4am Friday and Saturday, which is earlier than most international casinos.
Food and Drinks – Pricey but Quality
A fine range of food and drinks are available. However, prices are high, as you would expect at an international casino. Drinks cannot be ordered at the tables, therefore you need to reserve your place at the table while you go to the bar to order drinks. A player favourite are the Chicken Wings and Hot dogs, while the cocktail bar on the second floor is a must to order at.
Overall Casino Helsinki is a top quality international casino that provides great entertainment and real money gambling. It has all traditional and classic table games, slot machines and poker variations that would suit the majority of players.
Unfortunately, there are some inconvenient rules and regulations that you will need to abide by, which can seem like a nuisance:
- you can only exchange your EURO for chips at the cashier counter, not at a gaming table
- drinks cannot be directly ordered from a gaming table, you will need to get up and go to the bar
- if you appear to be drunk you will be escorted off the gaming floor by security
- Women need to be prepared to leave their bags at the cloakroom
On the plus side, the casino is well run, staff are friendly, professional and extremely helpful. Plenty of action to be enjoyed at this casino.
Casino Tampere is the second addition to the Veikkaus group. Sadly this casino doesn’t live up to expectations of a casino and is a real let down when compared to the flagship Casino Helsinki. The appearance and decor is very nicely designed – fresh, modern, clean and edgy. But there is a lack of substance once you look beyond the veneer.
Games are Limited
Casino Tampere only hosts 120 slot machines, a handful of table games and a poker room. The majority of the games are simple and electronic, hence many players are left disappointed with the range of games, unable to find their favourites and unable to touch and feel casino chips (everything is digital).
If you want to play and have a true casino experience, then best to avoid coming to Casino Tampere for the gaming.
Expensive Fine Dining
On premise is the bar named Casino Taproom. Beers are in the range of 8 to 10 EUR, which will hurt the wallet. The food is top quality, but portions are small, and prices are also very high.
If you are looking for value for money, a good fine dining experience, then best to venture to the nearby restaurant Saivo Kitchen & Bar of Moments.
Some small casinos have the ability to generate a pleasant experience with fine dining, amazing service, and an ambience that is comfortable and relaxing. Unfortunately Casino Tampere does not have any of these qualities.
Yes, it is modern and contemporary, but has an atmosphere of being empty and hollow. Its limited gaming and high priced drinks and food, doesn’t make it an attractive gambling venue.
If you are looking for quality entertainment, whether it be playing a few games or casual food and drinks, then try other venues first.