When markets are volatile, the casino industry often remains stable. In 2015, when investors’ general outlook on the US market was bearish, Montana-based casino operator Isle of Capri Casino (NASDAQ:ISLE), for instance, was one of the few stocks that more than doubled in the midst of markets’ general decline. In hard times, therefore, investors turn not only to the usual safe haven, gold and silver, but also to land-based casinos.
These days, with the advent of online casinos, or, as they are called in Finnish, nettikasinot, investors are starting to put money in virtual versions of gambling facilities. However blossoming brick-and-mortar betting houses are, they lose in comparison to online casinos. Even such successful and popular land-based casinos as Las Vegas Stands and Wynn Resorts are not as promising in terms of returns as their virtual counterparts. Players also prefer online casinos. Even the most finicky gamblers acknowledge that graphics and sound effects online are of a better quality than in traditional casinos.
A choice of games and slot machines is also much richer on the internet. In such small land-based casinos as PAF Casino at the Arkipelag Hotel & Casino in Mariehamn, Finland, there are only 65 slot machines. Online, however, Finns can play thousands of slots either on their local websites or with foreign providers – 888sport, Bet365, Rizk, BetWay, and LeoVegas, among others. Playing in the comfort of their homes is also more pleasant, especially when you are located in a country that does not have casinos in every city. Finland is a comparatively small country, but even there travelling to Helsinki to gamble from Oulu would take 1 hour 20 minutes on a plane. Considering that there is only one flight from Oulu to Helsinki per day, it becomes clear that the majority of the Finnish people would prefer to wager online instead of going to the trouble of flying to another city.
Gamblers prefer virtual casinos also because online gambling is safe. Operators of online casinos do their best to provide to their customers responsible gambling experience. They enable players to check payment options and their limits, which makes gambling and winning processes more understandable even for novices who are just trying their hand at wagering. There is also an option to read the Terms & Conditions page before betting, which players do not have in brick-and-mortar casinos. This page on online gambling websites usually states all necessary rules and details of gambling in an unambiguous way. What is even more helpful is the customer support services that online gambling websites offer to their customers. When players feel confused about gambling processes or need more information about their country’s gambling laws, they can reach a support team via email or the live chat and receive enlightening answers to their questions.
In Finland, whose government frowns upon unlicensed foreign online betting websites, all local virtual casinos are licensed and highly secured. The government takes all required measures to protect players’ data – maximum wagers, self-exclusion measures, and restriction to operating hours. In keeping with the Finnish rules of online gambling, players must be at least 18 years of age. If they want to start gambling, they also must be registered with the casino operator, have a Finnish bank account, a Finnish security number, and a permanent address in mainland Finland. Gamblers in Finland are also required to set daily and monthly loss limits. Maximum daily loss limit is now €500 for both slot machines and table games.
The details mentioned in the paragraphs above make abundantly clear that online casinos will soon eclipse their land-based counterparts. Thanks to their focus on the convenience of their customers, online websites gain in popularity among the players around the world. Stock prices of these online casinos also rise as a result, brought higher by gamblers’ enthusiasm. Thus, Swedish online gambling market is gradually becoming one of the most lucrative ones among the Nordic countries. The majority of gambling websites in Sweden are powered by NetEnt AB and offer their clients a rich variety of casino games: baccarat, roulette, blackjack, poker, and table games. Licensed in Malta, the company attracts many customers by its cutting-edge technology, which leads to the stable growth of its stock prices.
Equally prosperous the online gambling industry is in Finland. In Q1 2018, its net sales were of 805.6 million euro. The following year, the Q3 report showed a profit of 262.2 million euro. Almost 43 percent of turnover came in 2019 from online gambling. There was a turnover increase of every game, but Finnish Lotto revenue grew most impressively. Because of several weeks of record-breaking rollover jackpots, Lotto celebrated a turnover of 267.4 million euro between January and September 2019.
The same year, Veikkaus, the Finnish government-owned betting agency, announced that it would spend between 4 million and 8 million euro on the modification of the online gambling industry in Finland. The problem is that unlicensed foreign gambling platforms are not banned in the country and provide strong competition to local licensed casino websites. Veikkaus easily controls 16 local virtual gambling websites; but it cannot supervise all online foreign casinos that are mushrooming in the vastness of the internet and lure Finnish players away from local websites by its technological innovations and pages purposefully translated into Finnish.
To keep their Finnish customers, Veikkaus is rewriting now the Act on Lotteries. It is possible that in several years from now, Finnish people will be able to wager online only through the use of a Veikkaus gaming account. The government also plans to disable money transfers to foreign casino platforms, thereby preventing Finns from gambling with foreign operators. The planned changes in the Finnish online gambling industry will be completed in 2022 and will make it even more attractive to investors.