Finns lose millions to foreign online poker sites

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In January, two news stories popped up about a couple of options Finnish ministers had suggested to limit online poker playing in the nation.

The first option, suggested by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, was to introduce an amendment to the law on gambling that could give Internet gamblers the ability to claim back their losses.

The law would probably cause poker sites to bar Finnish players for fear that they'd be constantly refunding losses to players.

The Minister of Culture and Sports suggested that a better option would be to allow one of the two Finnish gambling companies to take responsibility for organizing online gaming in the nation.

The Culture and Sports Minister's plan may have more weight behind it after the newspaper Keski-Uusimaa reported last week that Finns spend as much as €50 million on foreign online poker games.

According to the newspaper, domestic online poker could bring in several million euros in additional income for Finland.

One of the Finnish lottery companies that could potentially operate a state-run online gambling monopoly, Veikkus, told the Keski-Uusimaa that up to two-thirds of the money spent on foreign online poker could be redirected to Finns if online gambling is approved.

A bill to reform the Finnish betting laws is expected to be presented in December.

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