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Finland – Finnish gambling merger to create one operator called Veikkaus

By - 20 June 2016

Finland’s new state-owned gambling operator will be called Veikkaus with a new brand and a new logo set to launch early in 2017.

The government took the decision last year to merge its three state-owned gambling operators into a single organisation that would regulate, monitor and operate all types of gambling in Finland.
Historically, Raha-automaattiyhdistys, known as RAY, was responsible for casinos, Veikkaus Oy oversaw the national lottery and local betting whilst Fintoto Oy operated pari-mutuel betting.

The aim with the merger is to strengthen the Finnish gambling monopoly by establishing a single, wholly state-owned company to operate gambling in the country. The gambling operators, beneficiaries and competent authorities have drawn up a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the merger. The first step will be to set up a temporary integration company to prepare the merger. The company’s board of directors will have six members. The chair and two members of the board will be appointed by the Government, and each gambling operator will appoint one board member.

The second step will be to establish a new, wholly state-owned company. The Government Ownership Steering Department of the Prime Minister’s Office will be responsible for implementing the merger in practice together with the gambling operators. The Ministry of the Interior will coordinate the project and draft the necessary legislation. The project will be monitored by Parliament.

The assets of the gambling operators have been placed in reserve for use by beneficiaries. The operators’ employees and questions relating to beneficiaries will be taken into account when preparing the merger.

CEO Juha Koponen said: “We think that establishing a new gambling operator is a rational reform. The decision to merge provides an explicit ground for ensuring the efficiency and competitiveness of the Finnish gambling system. We consider this important in order that we can offer the best possible customer service and prevent the harms of gambling efficiently. We are ready for the change and hope that it is implemented as quickly as possible.

“When we merge, it is essential that we can continue to offer our customers Finnish games that are increasingly attractive, while improving our service,” he said. “The new gambling operator and the reformed legislation should lead to improved customer experiences especially on the Internet, which the current three-operator model has not actually been designed for.”

Finns trust the quality of Finnish games; they consider the games interesting and the service good. It is estimated that ca. 93 per cent of the total demand for gambling is channeled to domestic gambling operators at present.

Mr. Koponen added: “The operators to merge boast extremely strong knowhow about both the gambling industry and the prevention of gambling problems. Structures are time-bound. We believe that a single operator has excellent chances to respond to the challenges of digitalisation.”

The merged entity islooking to appoint a new CEO at the top of an organisation that will employ almost 2,000 people.

It will reach approximate 1.9m players. The total revenue returned to society by Veikkaus, Finland’s Slot Machine Association, and Fintoto amounts to €1.2bn each year. All of it is used for the good causes. Almost 5,000 Finns voted in a multi-stage study to rebrand the entity, with the lottery operator’s brand, Veikkaus, found to be most suitable as it represented ‘security and responsibility,’ to the respondents.

At present, the merged entity operates under the name FRV Evo Oy, with Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Chairman of the FRV Evo Oy Board, stating that responsibility and reliability will be the foundation stones of Veikkaus, adding that the main goal will be to ensure that revenue from the country’s gambling operations benefits all Finnish citizens.

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