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Veikkaus to reduce slot machine operations in grocery stores

| By Robert Fletcher
Finnish lottery monopoly Veikkaus is to limit the opening hours of slot machines and the prominence of games in grocery stores across the country.
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From 1 September, Veikkaus’ slot machines will only be available for playing in grocery stores from 9am to 9pm, with the terminals to be switched off outside these hours.

There will be no restrictions on the opening hours of other slot machines than those placed in grocery stores.

Veikkaus will also restrict the visibility of the game menu on all decentralised slot machines in stores, service stations, kiosks and restaurants. Customers will not be able to see the game menu on the screen or play games until they have authenticated themselves.

“Veikkaus wants to offer people the option of shopping without the slot machines being open for playing,” Veikkaus vice president of sustainability Susanna Saikkonen said. 

“Veikkaus also wants to offer its customers the option of imposing a total self-ban on their playing of slot machines. Self-bans can be activated, for example, in Veikkaus’ online service or by contacting our customer service.”

The new restrictions on slot machines in grocery stores are the latest measure introduced by Veikkaus as part of its long-term commitment to promote responsible gambling. 

Since July 2021, consumers playing any of Veikkaus’ slot machine games have been required to authenticate themselves using their Veikkaus card, phone or a payment card linked to their loyalty customer account.

Finland’s new Lottery Act will extend mandatory identification, which already exists for slot games, to include all forms of gambling, as well as payment blocking for all operators except Veikkaus.

Mandatory ID checks for coupon-based games such as Lotto and Eurojackpot is due to come into effect from 1 January 2023. However, Veikkaus in June requested this date be pushed back to 1 January 2024 to allow it more time to ensure its machines are capable of carrying out such checks.

Veikkaus said the additional year would allow it to upgrade all of its machines and ensure that mandatory checking methods would be in place at the start of 2024.

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