Slot machines are a big part of life in Finland. They can be found in stores and restaurants as well as in recognized gambling houses. All of these machines are owned and regulated by Veikkaus, the state-owned gambling monopoly in the country.
The money from these machines goes towards helping state-funded projects. So, they are seen as a good thing by many people, although work has begun to encourage responsible gaming across the country. Lately, due to the pandemic, people in Finland have been unable to play land-based slot machines. They have been searching for uudet kasinot 2020 (new online casinos in the Finnish language) instead. Now, as restrictions are being lifted in the country, slot machines on the high street are coming back into use.
Slot machine network starting to return
Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us, countries like Finland have the situation under control and are opening up more facilities.
This includes the opening up of some of the slot machine network. Around 8,000 slot machines have been switched back on, around the country. This is good news for people who have been waiting to play them since they were first turned off on March 13, to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, it also means that Veikkaus needs to continue with its efforts to promote responsible gambling.
Work to encourage responsible gambling
Veikkaus earns around two billion euros each year. The money helps to fund projects that are beneficial to communities within Finland. So, there are benefits to the country as a whole. However, Veikkaus still has a responsibility to try to prevent some of the issues that can result from gambling itself.
This is why the organization has already started to cut back on marketing and remove some of its slot machines. This work is set to continue now that the slot machine network is active again. The idea is to remove machines from areas of excessive use and leave a network of around 10,000 machines in place nationally.
Another change that Veikkaus is introducing is the requirement for compulsory authentication on all slot machines. This will help to stop people from playing the machines on impulse. Players will also be able to set limits on their daily or monthly spending and machines will remind people that they are still playing every 15 minutes.
These reforms are all aimed at making sure that playing slot machines are a fun experience rather than one which causes problems. However, they could result in issues for Veikkaus.
Veikkaus’ revenues to be hit
The revenues made by Veikkaus are seen as a valuable asset by many people in Finland as they go towards funding state-backed projects. These revenues are around 550 million euros annually which is a considerable amount of money.
The COVID-19 related shutdown has already had a significant impact on the revenue possibilities for 2020. The measures taken to encourage responsible gambling could also have a negative impact on the amount of revenue that Veikkaus achieves.
Since March, slot machine enthusiasts in Finland have been deprived of access to the network of machines across the country. These Veikkaus operated machines are a valuable source of funding for community projects that are backed by the government.
So, there is some relief that the network of machines is now available again. However, this is only part of the story. Veikkaus is working to remove the opportunity for problem gambling to occur. This work involves removing some of the slot machines that are currently available in gambling houses, stores, and restaurants across the country.
The results of these changes could have an impact on the revenue achieved by Veikkaus. This revenue has already been severely impacted by the COVID-19 related shutdown. This is likely to mean that the funding secured through government-run Veikkaus will reduce.
It’s too early to say what the overall impact of the shutdown, and ongoing changes, on Veikkaus will be. However, right now, the organization will be pleased that at least part of its slot machine network is up and running again.