From self-regulation to regulation – An analysis of gambling policy reform in Finland

Av: Jani Selin, The Department of Health, The Tobacco, Gambling and Addiction Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
Publicerad: 2016
Kategorier: Om spelansvar spelansvarsverktyg och policy


Responsible gambling is a form of gambling industry self-regulation, covering the multiple ways of gambling operator’s promises to prevent and reduce gambling addiction. In Finland, where the gambling operators consider themselves to be among the most responsible operators in the world, the amendment of the Lotteries Act aimed to shift the balance from industry self-regulation to more stringent state regulation. Our study data consisted of operators’ annual reports, government documents related to the approval and addiction-potential assessment of new gambling products, and government documents related to the supervision of the marketing of gambling products. Theoretically, the paper draws most notably on Michel Foucault’s analytics of liberal forms of government and political rationality. Discourse analysis and quantitative content analysis were used to analyse the data. The analysis focused on the interaction between the regulators and gambling operators, with special importance given to self-regulation’s role in the interaction. The aim was to find out whether or not the more stringent regulations have been successfully implemented, and what role self-regulation has played in the implementation. The results show that a partial shift has taken place due to the more stringent market regulations, but the operators’ self-regulation has hindered the shift in the context of the addiction-potential assessment of new gambling products. More critical discussion and research are called for if effective and credible selfregulatory measures against gambling addiction and other gambling-related problems are to be developed.