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Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The Journal of Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues

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Volume 32, Issue 3 (Jun 2015)


Justifications of national gambling policies in France and Finland

Virve Marionneau
  • Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2015-0027


AIMS – The principles of free trade and free circulation of services within the European Union have created pressures to make the strictly controlled European gambling markets more open. According to the Court of Justice of the European Union, restrictions on gambling are only allowed if they are justified in admissible terms of consumer protection, prevention of criminal activity and protection of public order. This study compares the gambling laws of two European societies, France and Finland, to analyse how their legal frames of gambling have been adjusted to these principles.

DESIGN – The data consists of up-to-date legislation on gambling in Finland and France. A qualitative analysis was conducted to study whether new ways of justifying have been included in legislative texts and if these are substantiated by measures related to consumer protection or crime prevention.

RESULTS – France has mainly justified its restrictive policies on gambling in terms of preventing criminal activities while the Finnish legislation highlights the charitable causes funded by gambling proceeds, a claim not accepted by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Consumer protection is increasingly stressed in both countries, and the range of rationales has also grown notably since 2007.

CONCLUSION – While the vocabularies of justification accepted by the CJEU have expanded since 2007, these have not been substantiated by many new legislative measures. This is not attributed to political ill will but rather to the difficulty of changing existing legislative traditions.

Keywords: gambling; comparative studies; policy; regulation; sociology; Finland; France; European Union


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About the article

Received: 2014-04-10

Accepted: 2014-10-20

Published Online: 2015-06-22

Published in Print: 2015-06-01

Citation Information: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN (Online) 1458-6126, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2015-0027. Export Citation

© Virve Marionneau. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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