Posted on: August 19, 2022, 10:46 a.m.
Last update on: August 19, 2022, 10:46 a.m.
Veikkaus, Finland’s state gaming monopoly, is slowly forcing itself out of the gaming business. The latest example is a reduction in the operating hours of its slot machines in retail establishments.
Veikkaus has announced that it will limit the opening hours of slot machines, as well as the visibility of games in grocery stores. From September 1, grocery stores and other outlets will only be able to offer time slots between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Previously, stores had the ability to control when players could access machines.
Additionally, starting the same day, Veikkaus will limit the visibility of the in-game menu on slot machines in restaurants, kiosks, gas stations, grocery stores and more. Also, in the future, machines will no longer display options on their screens. Finally, the game menu will only appear after customers identify themselves to the machine.
Veikkaus turns the screws
Since July 2021, all Veikkaus gaming machines require identification with a Veikkaus card and a telephone or payment card linked to the customer relationship. Since then, it has continued to introduce new measures that further restrict interaction with machines.
Susanna Saikkonen, vice president of sustainability at Veikkaus, says she wants to give stores the chance to do more business without enticing consumers to gamble. However, the restriction only applies to the use of slot machines in grocery stores.
Veikkaus also offers customers the option to stop playing slots altogether. It is possible to activate the blocking, for example, via the Veikkaus online service or with the help of our customer service”, said Veikkaus Vice President of Sustainability Susanna Saikkonen.
Another reason for the change, according to Veikkaus, is to reduce the harm caused by gambling. He cited a gambling survey conducted by Taloustutkimus earlier this year which showed that gambling affects 2.5% of the population.
Additionally, the survey determined that 21% of Finns with gambling problems find physical machines more problematic. Seeing the devices hinders their ability to control their addiction.
The continued introduction of new regulations has not been welcomed by some players in the gambling industry. This is evidenced by comments from the European Gaming and Betting Association. At the same time, they have also had an impact on the income that Veikkaus can offer the country.
The introduction of ID checks on slot machines and the reduction in the number of machines available have taken their toll. As a result, Veikkaus reported revenue of 1.10 billion euros ($1.104 billion) for 2021, down 12.7% from a year earlier. Additionally, casino games are down over 30% from 2020.
Stricter checks en route
Player protection requirements are likely to become even stricter in the future. For example, a draft regulation provides for an extension of the required player identification to other forms of gambling. This means that the purchase of lottery products will become more difficult.
Originally, the new regulations were to come into force from January 2023. However, Veikkaus requested a delay until January 2024. Now the entity needs more time to ensure that all machines slot and lottery terminals are technically capable of performing the required identification. checks.
Veikkaus has already started to replace the machines in order to be able to act in accordance with the law in the future. However, due to COVID-19 and the situation in Ukraine, there were delivery difficulties for some components needed for an update.
It is not known when the current situation could change again. As a result, Veikkaus may not be able to meet its planned schedule for the changes.