What is special about gambling? A comparison of public discourse on Finnish state monopolies in rail traffic, gambling, and alcohol

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs43

Keywords:

monopolies, public discussion, gambling, Finland, EU, gambling, alcohol, railroads

Abstract

Finland has one of the last fully monopolistic gambling sectors in Europe. Unlike in most Western European countries, the monopoly is also consolidated and enjoys a wide support as opposed to license-based competition. This paper analyses whether this preference for monopoly provision is due to the particularities of the Finnish society or rather to those of the Finnish gambling sector. We do this by comparing public discourses in media texts (N=143) from 2014 to 2017 regarding monopolies operating in alcohol retail, rail traffic and gambling sectors. The results show that gambling appears to be special even in the Finnish national context. While the Finnish alcohol retail and railroad traffic markets have been liberalised during the study period, the gambling monopoly has been concurrently strengthened despite similar political and international pressures towards dismantling. The discussion suggests that the differing outcomes reflect the varying positions of monopolies, their stakeholders and the justifications put forward. Intertwined stakeholder interests in the gambling sector appear to amplify consensus politics and set gambling apart from the other cases.

Author Biographies

Virve Marionneau, Research Centre for Addiction, Control, and Governance (CEACG), University of Helsinki

Virve Marionneau is currently working as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki Research Centre for Addiction, Control, and Governance (CEACG) and in the Academy of Finland project The Political Economy of Gambling. Her research interests are the economics, politics, and legal frameworks of gambling, as well as comparative gambling studies.

Matilda Hellman, Research Centre for Addiction, Control, and Governance (CEACG), University of Helsinki

Matilda Hellman, PhD, adjunct professor, is a Research Director and head of the University of Helsinki Research Centre for Addiction, Control, and Governance (CEACG) at the Faculty of Social Sciences. She is also a guest researcher at the Finnish Institute for Welfare and Health (FIWH) and editor-in-chief of Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (NAD).

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Published

2020-04-09

How to Cite

Marionneau, V., & Hellman, M. (2020). What is special about gambling? A comparison of public discourse on Finnish state monopolies in rail traffic, gambling, and alcohol. Critical Gambling Studies, 1(1), 40-49. https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs43

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Section

Original Research Articles

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