Veikkaus names members of new ethics board

10 December 2019

Finnish gambling monopoly Veikkaus has named the chairperson and five other members to its new ethics advisory board.

Saija Kivinen will chair the board. Kivenen has served as legal counsel for telecommunications company Telia Finland since 2009, having previously been the company’s deputy legal counsel.

Susanna Reisamo, habits researcher for the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)  will be a member of the board.

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.

The board, established in August as part of the monopoly’s efforts to boost player protection controls, is intended to provide an external view on Veikkaus’s responsible gambling efforts and the social impact of gambling.

“The establishment of an Ethics Board complements the company's new, broad-based corporate responsibility measures. We are investing in developing a safer and more responsible gaming environment, and the Ethics Council outside the company's operations is an important part of that,” Pekka Ilmivalta, executive vice president for legal and responsibility at Veikkaus, said.

The ethics advisory board will be able to make proposals for new responsible gambling policies, issue statements and provide ethical arguments on practical issues related to gambling. Veikkaus added that the board will not deal with individual cases or complaints from outside parties.

Veikkaus has announced a series of stronger responsible gambling measures and player protection this year, including the establishment of the ethics advisory board, amid questions about its future and growing calls for its monopoly status to be scrapped.

In April, a survey conducted by by Finnish polling specialist Bilendi on behalf of igaming affiliate Kasino Curt revealed that more Finns were in favour of abolishing Veikkaus's monopoly than keeping it in place.

When the ethics board's formation was announced in September, Veikkaus introduced in tandem a series of tighter responsible gaming controls that may include withdrawing certain products from the market.

Last week (3 December), Veikkaus announced that it would start reducing the number of slot machines operating in Finland from the start of 2020 a year ahead of schedule. Around a fifth of the machines in operation across Finland are to be removed by the end of the year.