Finland – Veikkaus says land-based gaming has returned to pre-pandemic levelsBy Phil - 10 March 2023
Veikkaus Group generated operating profit of €1,070.8m in 2022 while the financial profit was €670.7m with the Finnish state-owned operator stating that land-based activities were back at pre-pandemic levels.
The year under review was the first full year since the start of the coronavirus epidemic when all of Veikkaus’ gaming halls and its two casinos were open throughout the year. Almost all slot machines were also in normal use throughout the year, which is why the gross gaming revenue from Veikkaus slot machines, at €164.6m, saw an increase of 15.1 per cent on the previous year.
Veikkaus’ Chief Financial Officer Regina Sippel, said: “Consumer behaviour at the physical points of sale has not, however, returned to the same level as before the coronavirus pandemic, as can be seen in the figures for visits to Veikkaus gambling halls. In addition, the mandatory loss limits introduced in 2021 for slot machines have reduced the volume of slot machine gambling. The war in Ukraine and the resulting increase in consumer uncertainty and reduced purchasing power have also affected demand for Veikkaus games.”
The gross gaming revenue from Veikkaus’s most popular game, Lotto, decreased by 7.9 per cent in 2022 to €149.8m. At the same time, the gross gaming revenue from Eurojackpot increased by 18.9 per cent to €151.1m. This growth was due in particular to the Eurojackpot reform, through which the second weekly draw was introduced for Tuesdays. This reform also increased Eurojackpot’s maximum jackpot from EUR €90m to €120m.
In 2022, the gross gaming revenue of the Betting Games group was €123.8m, down16.9 per cent. This decrease in gaming revenue was partly due to the mandatory annual loss limit of EUR 15,000, which was introduced for all customers from the beginning of February. From mid-June, however, professional gamblers had the opportunity to apply for exemption from this loss limit, which reduced losses from decreased gaming revenue for the remaining part of the year.
Veikkaus Oy’s share of the Finnish digital gambling market has been in decline for many years. It stood at just over 50 per cent by the end of 2022.
In recent years, Veikkaus has made significant investments in building a safer and more responsible gaming environment. This work continued in 2022, when preparations were made for the introduction in 2023 of compulsory authentication for ticket-based games. For the ticket-based games of Veikkaus’ own gambling halls and casinos, compulsory authentication was introduced already in November 2022. By the beginning of 2024 at the latest, authentication will also be introduced for scratch cards. At that point, compulsory authentication will cover all Veikkaus games.
The new Lotteries Act, which entered into force at the beginning of the year, enabled the use of data obtained through authenticated gambling for preventing gambling-related problems.
Susanna Saikkonen, Vice President for Sustainability at Veikkaus, said: “Using the data, we can analyse players’ gambling behaviour and identify signs of high-risk gambling. Based on this player data, we made over 2,000 calls in 2022 to customers who may be at risk. Our desire is to give people the opportunity to stop and consider their gambling and, if needed, make use of the tools we offer for gambling management, such as gambling limits and self-bans.”
Veikkaus was able to initiate its international business operations at the beginning of the year after the entry into force of the new Lotteries Act. The first year of operation of the subsidiary Fennica Gaming saw promising initial results on the attractiveness and functionality of the company’s games in different markets.
“Fennica Gaming is expected to grow into a significant part of Veikkaus’ business,” said Fennica Gaming’s Managing Director Timo Kiiskinen.