Slots gaming at kiosks, stores, restaurants, and service stations is set to change dramatically throughout Finland from January, when it will become compulsory for players to identify themselves in order to play.
This will come into effect on January 12 2021. After that, players won’t be able to play slots on decentralized slot machines without authenticating themselves. The restrictions on the opening hours will end at the same date.
In terms of the pandemic, arcades will still be open in three health care districts: Lapland, Eastern Savo, and North Savo. The previous recommendation by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will be effective until December 15 2020. The situation has not changed, so Veikkaus continues the closure in the areas currently in the acceleration and spreading stages. There are a total of 16 health care districts in the acceleration and spreading stages that are relevant to Veikkaus’ operations. Veikkaus does not operate in Åland.
Jari Heino, SVP, Channels and Sales, said: “We keep following the instructions and act accordingly. The authorities have access to the best expertise available as regards the coronavirus pandemic, and we will naturally act in compliance with their instructions. If a health care district returns to the basic stage after 16 December, the slot machines and Veikkaus arcades – Casino Helsinki, the Feel Vegas and Pelaamo arcades – located in the district can be opened. We want to act in a responsible and equal manner towards both our employees and partners. If it is estimated in a health care district that the situation has improved and that they have returned from the acceleration or spreading stage to the basic stage, we will launch the process of reopening there.”
“Of course, our first priority is to take care of safety during the epidemic, so the slot machines will only be open in districts where the coronavirus situation allows it. Compulsory authentication is a very efficient way of preventing problem gambling and facilitating age limit controls. The players can also choose to ban their slots gaming completely as of 12 January 2021, if they wish. Later, we will also be making available other responsibility” tools for players. Compulsory authentication will be adopted at Veikkaus arcades in summer 2021.
Veikkaus is actively following the development of the epidemic and makes decisions on the business operations in compliance with the guidelines issued by the authorities.
“It is our common interest in society to take every possible action to get over the pandemic. We are facing lots of insecurities and challenging decisions, but we can win this battle together.”
At the end of last year Veikkaus announced that it would reduce the number of slot machines in its retail network by 3,500 by the end of 2020. Following the new decision, the number will rise to 8,000 machines.
“In December 2020, there will be a maximum of 10,500 slot machines in the retail network – shops, kiosks, and service stations. At the beginning of this year, they numbered ca. 18,500,” said Mr. Heino
This will see the number of slot machines in the retail network fall by 40 per cent. The maximum number of slot machines per point of sales is also reduced. By January 2021, a single point of sales can only have four slot machines at the maximum.