On this page you will find information (scroll down) about:
- the Finnish gaming market, particularly regulation/legality of online gaming
- the Finnish language and the challenges of iGaming localisation.
Status and potential of the
Finnish online gaming market
Finland has one of the world’s most dynamic and flexible economies, ensuring a high level of prosperity for its citizens. With 4.8 million internet users, the country’s online environment is also a remarkably mature market: B2C e-commerce sales reached the amount of $12 billion in 2013 and are expected to reach just above $14 billion in 2015.
A Hot Scene for Games and Game Developers
One of the most flourishing industries in Finland is the gaming industry. At the end of 2013, the total value of the Finnish game industry was estimated at $2.5 billion. Studies show that between 2011 and 2014, more than $1.5 billion of private investments, mainly from foreign companies, were made in Finnish games companies.
The gambling landscape – still a hard nut to be cracked
The current arrangement of Finland’s gambling sector is obviously ripe for European Commission examination and ultimately pressure if the EU free trade laws are to be fully respected. Even before World War II, Finland has had a government-controlled gambling monopoly and since then, things have barely improved. Presently, all Finnish gambling – online and offline – is monopolised in a fourfold structure.
Domestic company Veikkaus has an exclusive legal betting license on lotteries and sports betting. Its profits on lotto and other betting activities are spread across different projects contributing to Finnish culture, science, art and youth work. Recent studies show that 70% of Finnish people played the national lottery at least annually. Domestic company Fintoto holds the license for horse race wagering and, like Veikkaus, invests the profits back into Suomen Hippos, a government organisation founded to breed and improve the Finnish horse.
Due to the massive amount of complaints from foreign gambling companies, European Commission is trying to pressure Finland to terminate its monopoly.
A third domestic company, RAY, is responsible for casino games, slot machines, table games and Internet gambling. RAY’s profits are redirected to health and social welfare organisations and to the care of war veterans. PAF is the Finnish company that operates a legal gambling monopoly on the autonomous region Åland, a network of roughly 6,500 islands lying at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. PAF was granted a license to run a website offering casino games, a poker room, bingo, and an online sportsbook. The generated income of PAF is put back into local humanitarian and social causes.
Due to the massive amount of complaints from foreign gambling companies, European Commission is trying to pressure Finland to terminate its monopoly. Currently the situation still remains unknown to whether Finnish government will soften its legislation on games of chance.
Since there are no criminal codes that outlaw the act of placing a bet with a foreign operator, lots of Finns also gamble on overseas gambling websites.
At All-in Translations we can help you communicate to your Finnish customers in a clear, correct and attractive language. Contact us and find out more of our language solutions for your business.
Challenges of Finnish
Finnish language and Finns are both oddities and should not exist the way they do. Finnish is not part of the indo-European language group but belongs to very rare Fenno-Ugric group. In the gaming, igaming and casino industries this background provides consistent and unexpected challenges in terms of translations and written communications where many key terms require adjustments and may not have target language equivalent to begin with.
Few words of Finnish language must be mentioned here to give some insight to the lingual challenges. Unlike e.g. Latin and Germanic languages which allow prepositions (to, from, in, out of etc.) to be used, Finnish hardly uses any prepositions and is instead structured on the use of suffixes with 14+1 cases in terms of conjugations. In layman terms, this means that if we take a word “Poker” for example and translate this to Finnish “Pokeri”, there are 14 additional variations of suffixes which can be added to this one term in singular and additional 14 variations which can be added in plural. Also, depending on the words, there may be several regular and irregular consonant and vowel changes.
In the gaming, casino and igaming industries this becomes a particular challenge as many words become directly borrowed from English or other languages and their conjugations may run into serious spelling complications. I.e. word “Jackpot” provides a good example even if its conjugation is simple. It is officially translated as “Jättipotti” but this translation can mostly be seen used only by national lotteries and the Casinos will use the original source language word “Jackpot” and conjugate it with Finnish pronunciation and spelling rules. Often many terms are simply left into original English (e.g. Straddle, Chip race, Forced bet, Heads-up and many others) and as borrowed words they are not always fully conjugated in every case of the language. Occasionally an original English term is simply “Finglished” as the process is often called and term “Flop” can be a good example having simply been adapted as “Floppi”.
Needless to say but with such amount of complexity and irregularity, translations are one challenging area where a proficient translator has to keep up with the development by either participating to the games or being aware of new practices which may be occurring over time. In this sense, any proficient translator or translation agency operating within the gaming, igaming or Casino industries cannot isolate themselves to translations only but need to actively purchase the chips or participate otherwise very closely and Malta has been an ideal location in this way as the island holds a great amount of igaming and gaming companies as well as diasporas of different nationalities and Finns among others, are represented in thousands and contribute to the growing industry trends throughout the EU-region and elsewhere.
If anything can be said about the future, is that Finnish companies have over time been developing several contents in the these sectors (although often based outside of Finland) and Finnish language, as it has been one of the most complex languages in the world, has alongside with great engineering generated some of the best automation tools and lingual parsing technologies available. Working with these two aspects in view, tremendous results can be expected and most likely the results will first be seen in Malta.