Finland is renowned for its Northern Lights, the beauty of Lapland, Santa Clause, 3 million saunas, skiing, and the Midnight Sun Film Festival. Gamblers around the world also know that no nation places bets with more enthusiasm than Finns.
Indeed, more than 80 percent of Finnish citizens gamble and, what is even more surprising, consider gambling their civic duty. Finn’s patriotic attitude to gambling was molded in the 1920s when they traveled to neighboring Sweden to place bets since casinos were forbidden by the Finnish government.
Averse to letting Finnish markkas flow to Sweden, the government decided to legalize horse racing and lotteries, explaining to Finnish citizens that they had to support the economy of their own country rather than that of their neighbors.
Since then, Finns have tirelessly been playing the lottery, while their horse racing has become so professional that it should be listed among the most prestigious races in the world. The association of gambling with patriotism has also been strengthening in the minds of Finnish people. Now it is part and parcel of Finnish mentality.
Finnish people are fond of gambling in a casino, or as they spell it, “kasino,” and buy lottery tickets every week. They even start playing the lottery in life earlier than people do in other countries, permitted to buy lottery tickets at the age of 15.
The most popular lottery in Finland is Veikkaus lottery, organized by the Finnish state-owned betting agency. Veikkaus lottery is a traditional jackpot, 7/39 lotto game. There are also an additional three bonus numbers that determine the second prize. Players need to choose correctly 7 numbers out of the pool of 39 to strike gold.
People who guess only 4 numbers receive the smallest amount of money. Lottery drawings are held on Saturday and broadcast live at 20:45 on the first television channel. The largest prize in the history of Veikkaus lottery was given to a man from Kotka in 2010, who won €7 million.
Another famous lottery winning occurred in August 2019 in Northern Finland, when a Eurojackpot top prize of €90 million was won by a syndicate of 50 people, each of which received more than €1.8 million.
The game was organized by a local supermarket Herkkupata, which also served as an official lottery agent for Veikkaus. The shop’s keeper sold shares in 50 player syndicate to every customer willing to join the group. A share was sold for €10. Finland’s winning streak continued after this event.
The fifth-largest Eurojackpot, which takes place every Friday at 21:00 local time in Helsinki, also went to a Finnish citizen. This time the prize was worth €86 million.
Finns are so eager to try their luck in all games of chance that in addition to Veikkaus lotteries and Eurojackpot, they play lotteries online. The most popular digital lotto is the Viking Lotto. Organized as a collaboration of several national lotteries, the Viking Lotto is played in the following Scandinavian countries: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
According to the latest statistics, Finnish citizens spend more than €100 million every year playing the Viking Lotto. Unlike Veikkaus lottery, this lotto is a 6/48 game. This means that players need to choose correctly 6 numbers out of 48. Finns purchase online lottery tickets with the help of WebMoney, Skrill, and PayPal. A player in Iceland won the jackpot of €1,1 million in 2015.
Now, when all gambling sites are shut down in Finland, Veikkaus lottery is being suspended. While still playing the digital lottery, Finns are undoubtedly looking forward to playing Veikkaus lottery again after the agency reopens casinos, Feel Vegas sites, and slot machines on the 15 of July. It is hoped that once all quarantine restrictions are lifted, some Finns will be lucky to hit the jackpot.