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Finland – Veikkaus lined up for online monopoly as slot authentication kicks in

By - 12 January 2021

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior is considering a major overhaul of the Finnish Lotteries Act that would allow monopoly operator Veikkaus to launch B2B services.

Veikkaus would be able to create a new division to ‘provide gambling products and services to other companies.’

The ministry said: “The basic premise of the reform is that Finland’s gambling system will also in the future be based on the state monopoly in line with the government programme.”

Whilst the promotion of ‘particularly harmful gambling games, such as slot machines’ would be banned, promoting sports betting would be allowed.

The announcement came as Veikkaus launched compulsory authentication for slot machines in stores, restaurants, kiosks, and service stations. The reform is part of Veikkaus’ comprehensive CSR Program, which aims to prevent gambling-related harm. Customers can authenticate themselves on slot machines from now on by using their Veikkaus Card, by phone, or by using a payment card linked to their Loyal Customer status.

At present, Veikkaus has around 10,000 slot machines in its retail partner network all over Finland. Their number has been reduced by more than 40 percent within the past year.

Jari Heino, SVP, Channels and Sales, said: “We have actively brought forward the transition to authentication through our own actions and reduced the number of slot machines. If a customer experiences gambling as a problem, this reform enables them to, for example, set a complete self in their gambling. It will also be easier for customers to follow their gambling activity. The majority of Finns do not have problems with gambling, but through this measure, we want to offer preventive tools for those who are at risk of getting into trouble.

The reform will also facilitate age limit controls significantly.

Mr. Heino added: “Our games are for adults only. For the prevention of Underage gambling, the reform is remarkable. We have received great feedback, both from our partners and our customers, on the fact that it will now be easier to control the age limit. You can only play Slots if you have a personal account, and you cannot open one if you are under 18. Authentication will also have significant economic impacts. Together with the other gambling control tools, it will cut the players’ losses by ca. 300 million euros a year.

“By these measures, we aim to curb Mostly the gambling that causes the most problems. Preventing problems and harm is our primary target. We are working for that objective every day, developing different tools to enable Safer gambling.
Starting from July 2021, authentication will also be required at Veikkaus’ gambling arcades such as the Feel Vegas and Pelaamo Arcades. At the same time, gambling on physical slot machines will be made subject to loss limits. This means that they will be subject to the same practice that has already been applied to the fast-paced online games, such as online scratchcards, eBingo, and the digital Slots.

Veikkaus’ objective is to make all gambling subject to authentication by the year 2023.

Mr. Heino said: “It may well be that the slot machines and Arcades are closed on 12 January in certain areas. When they are reopened as the situation with the epidemic improves, gambling will be instantly subject to authentication. At the same time, the restrictions on the opening hours will be removed, and the slot machines can be opened according to the opening hours of our retail partners.”

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