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Veikkaus warns of staff layoffs ahead of gambling monopoly end

| By Robert Fletcher
Finnish state-owned operator Veikkaus said it expects to cut jobs and close gaming arcades as part of its preparations for the end of the country’s gambling monopoly.
Veikkaus Casino Tampere

The Finnish government plans to end Veikkaus’ gambling monopoly by 2026. This is part of an effort to increase Finland’s channelisation rate, which is low compared to peer countries.

The new system would allow private companies to apply for a licence to run sports betting and online casino. Veikkaus would retain its monopoly status for the lottery and retail slot machines.

The plans also propose dividing Veikkaus into separate companies within the same group. This would reverse a 2017 merger between betting brand Veikkaus, slot business Raha-automaattiyhdistys and horse race betting operator Fintoto.

Veikkaus has already commenced planning for the end to its monopoly in certain areas. This, it said, includes changes to its organisational structure, with further discussions to be held this month.

Veikkaus plans arcade closures

While plans are still at an early stage, Veikkaus warns the restructure could lead to the loss of approximately 240 jobs. A further 195 employees could also face “significant” changes in the terms of their employment.

The operator also plans to reduce the number of its gaming venues from 65 to between 40 and 50. In addition, talks are ongoing over the possible closure of its Tampereen casino.

“Preparing for changes in the gaming industry and internationalisation are a really important part of Veikkaus’ growth strategy,” Veikkaus CEO Olli Sarekoski said. “We are building a future where Veikkaus is Finland’s most successful gambling company and a major player in the international market.

“We want to be competitive in the future licence market and vital in the monopoly market. That’s why we need changes in our operations that affect the entire company.

“It means many parallel changes. We go through the entire organisation from the point of view of profitability and growth. We also have to make difficult decisions. For some, these changes may mean the end of the employment relationship. We care and take care of them.”

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