New methods for understanding gambling operators’ socioeconomic impact

European gambling companies have been organized to contribute to society in many ways. The main focus of the Political Economy of Gambling (PolEG) project is to investigate how this surplus created in gambling provision is circulated further in European societies. Particular attention is paid to different stakeholders and overlapping interests in political and economic action.

Two new reports by the PolEG project offer a broad understanding of the phenomenon and introduce new methodologies to compare Veikkaus and other European gambling companies: how to measure and compare the amounts they contribute to society and what kind of actors are at the receiving end. The reports also provide insight into the debate on how to better organize the gambling system, and what kind of alternatives are available.

The PolEG project focuses on two main processes of the circulation of money from gambling operation: 1) the gambling surplus to society, i.e. the amounts of money that are directed back to society via taxation, earmarked contributions, license fees or other arrangements; and 2) the cost-dependents of the gambling industry, i.e., other industry sectors that benefit from the operating costs of gambling provision, such as the distribution network, game developers, providers of materials, advertisers, and financial institutions. As opposed to the beneficiaries of the gambling surplus, these industries participate in producing the surplus.

To study who the beneficiaries and the cost-dependents are, and what kind of sums they gain from gambling operations, the PolEG team has developed a comparative methodology, named the Standardized Income Statement (SIS model). The model is based on publicly available gambling company income statements that have been standardized to allow comparison. The income and expenditure calculations have allowed the team to disaggregate the revenue circulating from gambling, the costs of collecting the gambling surplus, factors weighing into these costs, and to identify the stakeholders functioning as the recipients of the surplus and costs.

The data report detailing this methodology (Marionneau et al., 2020) was recently published in the Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences report series of the University of Helsinki. The descriptions of the national contexts, including how the gambling market is organized and regulated, where the contribution to society is directed, and how the companies compare to each other are published in the separate country report (Nikkinen (ed), 2020).

For the password to access the pdf versions of the reports, or to receive a printed copy of the data report, please contact Sébastien Berret (

Marionneau, V., Berret, S., Lähteenmaa, J., Nikkinen, J., & Sulkunen, P. (2020). The political economy of gambling (PolEG): Data report. Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences no 160. University of Helsinki.

Nikkinen, J. (ed). (2020). The political economy of gambling (PolEG): Country report. Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences no 161. University of Helsinki.

The political economy of gambling (PolEG) project is funded by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Association for Alcohol Studies, 2018-2022, with Pekka Sulkunen as PI, Janne Nikkinen and Virve Marionneau as researchers, Sébastien Berret as technical assistant / PhD student and Juho Lähteenmaa as technical assistant. The project is carried out in collaboration with international partners.