Veikkaus to bring in sweeping new responsibility controls

5 September 2019

The board of Finnish gaming monopoly Veikkaus has committed to introducing a series of tighter responsible gaming controls as it looks to enhance social responsibility efforts, and may go as far as withdrawing certain products from the market.

This will see the operator put an end to marketing for its land-based slot machine business, as well as reducing the total number of terminals in operation throughout Finland.

Veikkaus currently operates 18,500 slot machines in the country, though this number will be reduced alongside the introduction of compulsory identity verification on each machine. The new ID controls will be introduced from October 2020 to January 2022, with an estimated 3,000 machines to be taken out of service. The operator has decided that ID verification will be mandatory for all products aside from card games and land-based gambling.

In addition, Veikkaus will also cease advertising fast-paced online games, such as slots, via land-based channels. Chief executive Olli Sarekoski revealed the company may go even further, by withdrawing certain games from the market. Norway's gambling monopoly Norsk Tipping has already warned that it may have to take similar action as a result of increasing numbers of players classed as at risk of developing problems with gambling.

These new advertising restrictions follow a review of its marketing strategy, announced in August alongside a temporary suspension of marketing for all non-lottery products. This was implemented following a backlash over a campaign that was seen as encouraging excessive gambling. This shut-down contributed to a 71.4% drop in Veikkaus' marketing spend in the second quarter of its financial year to 30 June.

"[These measures] will make it possible ot build a holistic ecosystem for safer gambling, and create more opportunity to prevent money laundering offences," chief executive Sarekoski explained.

As part of the ongoing responsible gambling measures, the operator will also use customer data to research and refine its preventative measures.

These efforts will be supported by Veikkaus' new Ethics Council, established in August. It was set up to oversee existing social responsiblity efforts, and recommend new initiatives or changes to current processes.

Veikkaus’s status as Finald’s gaming monopoly has been in question, after polls revealed a majority of Finns were in favour of ending the company's monopoly status.

In related news, the operator has appointed Christian Cedercreutz, Anne Larilahti and Juha A. Pantzar to its board. They will serve alongside Outi Henriksson , Minna Pajumaa and Hanna Sievinen, under chair Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.