Veikkaus to retain lottery machines as end to Finnish gambling monopoly in sight

Veikkaus to retain lottery machines as end to Finnish gambling monopoly in sight
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Veikkaus’ monopoly on the Finnish gambling market may be nearing its conclusion, but there is an acknowledgement that the lottery and gaming machines should remain with the agency.

As reported by the MTV Uutisten news agency, the Finnish government is prepared to sanction a dramatic shake-up of the country’s licensing system.

Veikkaus has held a monopoly over the country’s gambling market since 2017 but the agency has recently signalled its intention to move to a licence system, enabling several organisations to work within the same parameters.

Speaking in September, Deputy CEO Velipekka Nummikoski referenced the success of the system in Sweden, where channelisation has reached 90%.

Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s Minister of Europe and Ownership Management and a member of the governing Social Democratic Party (SDP), has now told MTV Uutisten that the government is supportive of the transition.

The Minister also added that an investigation into the advantages and disadvantages of breaking the Veikkaus monopoly has been sped up, whilst noting that a shake-up of the licensing framework has general cross-party support.

She explained: “As the Minister of Ownership, I myself hastened to make a report on a possible transition to a multi-permit system. It is only a good thing that the opposition also shares this perception.

“There are parliamentary elections next spring, and it would be ideal that by the time of the government negotiations, we would have enough information to be able to make policies in the government negotiations.”

Previous recommendations for changes to the framework have been rejected by the SDP, but the government now appears to be changing its tone.

“Now the game companies from abroad operate as if in a wild grey zone. They are not subject to the same liability regulations that apply to Veikkaus’ playing,” Tuppurainen continued.

“The situation naturally causes gambling disadvantages and at the same time the taxman’s hand is twisted, which means that the profits from gambling also go past Finland to foreign countries.”

Sari Multala, an MP for the opposition liberal-conservative National Coalition Party (NCP), lent her backing to the proposals.

She said: “It is really important that such a speech is also heard from the prime minister’s party, it means that an investigation on the transition to the licence system could be started as soon as possible.”

Multala also provided some insight into how the Finnish market would look under a multi-licence system.

“The lottery and gambling machines would remain within Veikkaus’ monopoly. It is easier to regulate when there is only one actor. 

“On the online side, the regulation cannot achieve the goal of not playing out. Monitoring is easier in the physical world than online.”