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Finland – Veikkaus keeps profit steady despite COVID uncertainty

By - 1 September 2021

Finnish state owned gambling entity Veikkaus saw its financial profit for the period from January to June (€330.2m) remain at the level of the respective period in 2020, down 0.8 per cent.

The restrictions and special arrangements due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the sustainability measures the operator decided to take had a major impact on Veikkaus’ financial profit for the whole year. Lottery tax was €28.8m, down 60.5 per cent. The Lottery tax percentage was dropped from 12 per cent to 5.5 per cent for a fixed period of one year as of 1 January 2021. Gross Gaming revenue decreased to €527.1m, down 13.2 per cent.

The company said: “The pandemic hit the slot machines hardest, as they lost 67.1 per cent of their Gross Gaming revenue (€45.4m) compared to the respective period last year. Due to various measures resulting from the pandemic, the slot machines were closed for a total of about four months during the period under review, depending on the level of the epidemic in the different areas. The gaming arcades and slot machines that had been kept closed were reopened at the end of the spring, and ca. 600 members of Veikkaus’ staff who had been laid off got to return to their workplaces.”

In contrast, the betting games saw their Gross Gaming revenue of €45.7m increase by 57.1 per cent during the period under review, as compared to the respective period last year, as available Sporting events recovered nearly to the level of pre-coronavirus period. The Ice Hockey World Championship in May and June and the UEFA European Championship, which started in June, boosted the positive development.

The year began with one of the most significant reforms in the recent history of Finnish Gaming, as Veikkaus introduced compulsory authentication to the slot machines of the retail network. Since the beginning of July, all the slot machines at Veikkaus Gaming Arcades have also been subject to compulsory authentication, which means that customers have not been able to play Slots anonymously.

Regina Sippel, Veikkaus’ CFO, said:” The players who feel slot machine gaming is a problem for them can now choose to block all their playing of Veikkaus ‘slot machines. Full authentication has major benefits not only for the prevention of gambling-related harm but also for age limit controls, crime prevention, and the development of business operations that are even more sustainable. It is our goal to make Sustainability our success factor for the future and to turn into a leading expert on Sustainability in the gaming business.”

Currently, up to nearly 75 per cent of gaming takes place authenticated, and Anonymous Gaming occurs mainly with coupon-based games that cause problems less often, such as Lotto. Next, compulsory authentication will be extended to the coupon-based games in 2022. Veikkaus wants to make all its games subject to compulsory authentication by the end of 2023.

On September 1, the concept of Gaming control tools will turn more comprehensive still, as the physical slot machines and the table games (excl. Poker) will be made subject to the same daily and monthly loss limits as those currently applied to Veikkaus’ fast -paced online games.

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