Finland has been through a tumultuous history, not only in relation to gambling, but in general. Now a republic, it was once part of the kingdom of Sweden, and later on, the Russian empire. And while gambling may be considered legal within the country, the laws relating to the sector are quite complicated. The first slot machines were introduced to the country in the 1920s by Germany. Private businesses would soon exploit the opportunities created by such products, which forced a state intervention to allow only charities the licences to operate these machines in 1933. However, displeased firms and operations in the country would force the government to set up a company dedicated to overseeing slot gambling. Thus, in 1938, the Raha-automaattiyhdisty, or RAY, was set up.

In fact, Finland has been leaps and bounds ahead of many other countries in terms of the gambling industry, having had a government-controlled monopoly in place since before the Second World War. And despite the pressure of the European Union and its controversial gambling laws, as well as the introduction of the internet gaming landscape, the country’s regulation and structure towards gambling has barely changed at all since that time.

As far as RAY goes, this is just one of the three Finnish organisations which form the government’s monopoly on gaming. The other two are Veikkaus Oy, which provides the Finnish national lottery, and Fintoto Oy, offering up parimutuel betting specifically tied to horse racing. Both of these invest any money raised on their games to different projects, with the former contributing to Finnish art and culture, sports or scientific works, and the latter being placed into Suomen Hippos, a government organisation which cares for horses.