“Significant Financial Consequences”
As of January 12, Finnish gambling operator Veikkaus will request players verify their identity in order to access its slot machines, as part of a package of customer protection measures. Players will use a virtual ID card on their mobile phone before being able to gamble. The gambling monopoly predicts to reduce player losses by up to €300 million.
Veikkaus declared that this verification system will have “significant financial consequences”. The company’s sales director Jari Heino said it will help players think twice before gambling on slots and potentially prevent themselves from doing so. The system will also prevent people under 18 to play.
“For a large proportion of Finns, gambling is not problematic, but through this measure, we want to offer preventive tools to those who are at risk of difficulties,” he added.
Pilot Program Launched in October
Veikkaus first tested the system through a pilot program in some parts of Finland in October 2020, before adding more regions in November, and implementing the measure across the entire country in December. The operator plans to bring new measures over the next few years, with ID verification in gaming halls starting in July this year and all of its games covered by the new requirements by 2023.
Loss limits for fast-paced games such as slot machines will be extended over the summer, Veikkaus shared. Loss limits for online casino gaming were reduced to €500 per week in April 2020, a restriction planned to run until March this year. Veikkhaus committed to taking 8,000 slots offline by the end of 2021, a number originally set at 3,500 machines and bumped up in June.
Shutdowns across the nation to minimize the spread of the virus have left the operator’s slot machines off for months, but most of them will be back for playing tomorrow when the identity measure is set.
In December, Finland was called out by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to change its gambling policy to end the monopoly of Veikkaus. EGBA stated that Finland is the only EU member to keep a gambling monopoly and that this model was impossible to regulate and enforce on the internet.
Veikkaus reported a 28.1% drop in gross revenue year on year, with €607.2 million for the first six months of 2020. The operator generated €332.7 million in profit, down 33.6% because of the pandemic. At the time, Veikkaus expected the situation to decrease profits by €300 million.