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US Should Consider Finnish Way of Handling Problem Gambling

9 June 2011 by admin

There is much concern about an increase in problem gambling if the United States moves to regulate online gambling, as well as concern for underage gambling. The feeling is that online casinos will give those who already struggle with problem gambling easier access to gambling, worsening their condition. There is also a feeling that online gambling will create more individuals with a gambling addiction. To those with such concerns I point you in the direction of Finland.

In Finland there is a site, called Pelimaailma, whose purpose is to teach online gambling responsibility. This is an online gambling site that helps those with gambling addictions to control their playing. Those who play on the site have the power to limit how much time they spend playing; they can also choose to suspend their playing if they feel that they are playing too much.

Players have the ability to control how much time they spend gambling by setting their accounts to allow only X number of hours of gambling per week. Once those hours are used up, the player is denied access to the online casino games offered on Pelimaailma. At the beginning of a new week, the hours are reset; no rollover hours, folks. For those who struggle with problem gambling this is a good way to curb their play time since they cannot play anymore once their time for the week is used up. Also under player control is the ability to suspend their access to the online casino games to also help learn how to gamble responsibly.

There is talk in every state and on Capitol Hill about how to control problem gambling should online casinos and online poker be regulated in any of the states or in the US as a whole. Perhaps Americans should consider the Finnish site is doing, maybe so far as to make such features mandatory in US-facing online casinos or mandatory for US player accounts. These are features successful on the Finnish site; the Internet operations director of RAY, the Finnish slot machine association, Kari Hyttinen, has said, “It has done exceptionally well.” Given the Finnish success of such features to control problem gambling and teach responsible gambling, the US should consider them as a part of the regulation infrastructure if they move to legalize online gambling in the US.

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