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Veikkaus announces sweeping cuts to Finnish gambling business

Finnish gambling news

Finland’s state-owned gambling monopoly, Veikkaus, has announced it is laying off workers and shutting down some operations.

The agency said earlier this week that it intends to cut around 400 employees from its payroll.

It has therefore started talks with about 1,300 to 2,000 workers to identify potential redundant positions, with staffers in and around the Helsinki area expected to be the worst affected.

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According to the Veikkaus CEO Olli Sarekoski, the country’s gambling industry has undergone significant structural changes in recent years.

With more and more punters shifting to online gambling, about 45 per cent of the agency’s sales now come from digital channels.

As such, Sarekoski noted that Viekkaus was “planning significant overhauls of our gaming locations and an end to the restaurant gaming table business”.

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At present, the agency controls 187 gaming tables at 162 restaurants and bars across Finland.

After the Christmas celebration, a Veikkaus staffer who stole €150,000 from his shop’s safe became the first casualty of the layoffs.

A review of the shop’s surveillance cameras gave him up the following day, leading to his arrest in Estonia.

Finnish laws forbid internationally licensed gaming and wagering companies from targeting local punters, but the issue is more complicated now that Sweden has launched a regulated online gambling market.

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With Swedish betting firms reportedly offering their services to gamblers in Finland, there are suggestions that the Veikkaus monopoly must come to an end.

Finland’s Competition and Consumer Authority last year announced plans to appraise the agency’s operations, which include a 90 per cent share of the domestic online gambling industry.

The Veikkaus portfolio is comprised of lotteries, slot games, sports betting and horse racing, which used to be standalone units until they were merged in 2017.