Veikkaus to enhance responsibility measures in 2020

18 December 2019

Finnish gambling monopoly Veikkaus has set out plans to bolster its responsible gambling measures in 2020, but warned that changes to its operating strategy could lead to a €50m (£42.5m/$56.7m) decline in earnings. 

Approved by the Veikkaus board of directors, the operator’s strategy for the next 12 months will include reducing the number of slot machines it operates across Finland by an estimated 3,500, as announced earlier this month.

Veikkaus will also push for compulsory identification in order for customers to play slot machines and other games, as well as amend its marketing strategy to focus more on promoting responsible gambling.

“Responsible gaming measures have been planned and will continue to be numerous in the coming year,” Veikkaus’ director of responsibility Pekka Ilmivalta said. “We will be involved in the planning of this work, for example, with those dealing with gambling problems, as well as with addiction experts.”

Other changes include the way Veikkaus reports its financial results, so that the profit it generates from gaming activities will be presented minus the winnings paid to players.

Veikkaus said this will be consistent with the International Financial Reporting Standard, with a similar reporting model also being used by Sweden’s Svenska Spel and Danske Spil in Denmark.

The new reporting policy will be implemented for the first time in Veikkaus' 2019 Annual and Sustainability Report, which will be published in either February or March next year.

Meanwhile, Veikkaus said the impact of its responsible gambling measure will play a role in determining performance-based bonuses for its management. For 2020, the evaluating the effectiveness of operations will have a weight of 40%, measured by operating expenses as a percentage of gross margin.

Veikkaus said if the liability indicator's threshold for gambling harm is exceeded, this 40% efficiency measure will be cut completely from the bonus. Other criteria for bonus payments include the number of customers with a weight of 35% and the development of staff experience at a weight of 25%.

Such is the anticipated impact of these changes that Veikkaus expects earnings for 2020 to be around €50m lower than in 2019 – higher than the initial figure of €30m mooted earlier this month. Revenue is also set to fall by the same level in 2020.

Veikkaus this month also named Saija Kivinen as chairperson of its new ethics advisory board, with five other members also set to serve on the board. Kivenen has served as legal counsel for telecommunications company Telia Finland since 2009, having previously been the company’s deputy legal counsel.

Lassi Rajamäki, executive director of community organisation Sosped; Mikko Meriläinen, game researcher at the University of Tampere; Terhi-Anna Wilska, professor of sociology at the University of Jyväskylä and Jani Halme, creative director at marketing and communications company Toinen PHD will join the board as members.