Finns increasingly want separate spaces for gaming machines

Newly published research sheds some light on Finland's changing attitudes towards gambling.

File picture of slot machine / Credit: iStock

Finns are increasingly in favour of putting gaming machines in distinct, separate rooms according to a new study by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL.

At present the machines can be found in supermarkets, cafes, petrol stations, bars and other public spaces, although Finland’s gambling monopoly Veikkaus has committed to drastically reducing their numbers by the end of this year.

However a 2019 survey, the results of which were released on Wednesday, finds that 52% of people say they support moving gaming machines into a separate space completely – that’s up from 37% the last time THL asked the question back in 2015.

The Institute has been tracking Finnish attitudes towards gambling since 2007 with regular surveys and already in 2019, some 66% of people were in favour of mandatory authentication measures which aim to prevent children from playing the machines.

In the latest survey the attitude of young adults towards gaming machines measured. Researchers found they were playing the machines less than previously, and were generally positive about moving them to a separate space.

File picture of slot machines in a casino / Credit: iStock

Changing attitudes towards gambling 

THL researchers also looked at how attitudes towards gambling have changed in Finland over recent years.

The number of people who support the idea of a gambling monopoly in Finland is still strong with 72% thinking it’s a good idea, and can limit some of the disadvantages of gambling. Just 21% disagreed.

“Prevention and reduction of harm are a key justification for an exclusive rights regime in the European Union. The strengthening of the exclusivity system is included in the program of the Marin government” says THL researcher Anne Salonen.

However, overall attitudes towards gambling have become more hardened, with 91% of people saying the don’t think gambling should be encouraged; and 71% say there are already too many opportunities to gamble.

On the other hand a majority of people questioned – 61% – said they thought Finns have a right to gable whenever they want; and 79% think there is no reason to ban gambling.

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