Announced yesterday (24 October) by the ministry of the interior, the strategy seeks to establish a regulated market by 2026. This will see a licensing system introduced and the Veikkaus online monopoly come to an end.
Although this will effectively end Veikkaus’s exclusivity in the gambling market, the operator is seemingly positive about the plans. Deputy CEO Velipekka Nummikoski says that Veikkaus welcomes the idea of regulation and will support the government with its efforts.
“It’s great that the project is progressing. At Veikkaus, we give the project our full support,” Nummikoski said. “This is the biggest gambling reform in the history of Finland, with an ambitious schedule.
“The government programme has set clear starting points for the reform and it is good to proceed with them. Hopefully, a system will be created that effectively channels gambling into the licensed supply.”
The process will be a lengthy one, with the government to draw up legislative proposals for reform over the next two years. This includes the games covered by the licence system, the licence fees and taxation and gambling management tools.
Other rules will cover gambling-related harm, as well as the control and marketing of gambling activities.
Plans are at an early stage but Veikkaus says it understands the licensing system will cover online casino and sports betting. Veikkaus currently offers both of these in Finland as part of its monopoly on the market.
Support for gambling reform in Finland
The government’s declaration comes in the wake of a survey that suggested widespread support for regulated gambling. The study, which focused on international comparisons with the monopoly system, argued maintaining the current regime was “not a recommended option”.
Veikkaus will lose its monopoly within online casino games and online betting. However, it is thought Veikkaus will retain its monopoly status for the lottery and retail slot machines.
The government programme states the monopoly activities remaining with Veikkaus and the activities in the competitive market will be separated into different companies within the same group. The project will also investigate the transfer of game machines to separate controlled areas in accordance with the government programme.
Veikkaus warns of jobs losses
While Veikkaus has come out in support of the plans, this did not stop it from issuing a warning over possible job losses. Last month, Veikkaus said it expects to cut jobs and close gaming arcades as part of its preparations for the end of its monopoly.
Veikkaus warned that the restructure could lead to the loss of approximately 240 jobs. The operator also plans to reduce the number of its gaming venues from 65 to between 40 and 50.
Further details of its plans are expected to be made public in the near future.