Veikkaus Finland - Finnish monopoly

Veikkaus welcomes ‘good and balanced’ Finnish reforms report

Veikkaus OY has welcomed the study into the Finnish gambling market and international comparisons published by the country’s government this week.

The state-backed betting, gaming and lotteries monopoly largely agreed with the Ministry of the Interior’s assessment of Finland’s gambling landscape, particularly that change is needed.

In the report, policymakers estimated that around €500m to €550m in Finnish gambling revenue goes towards unlicensed overseas firms, amounting to around half of total betting and gaming volume.

“The report is good and balanced,” Veikkaus CEO Olli Sarekoski said of the study, which put forth the case that the ‘considerable’ sums lost to unlicensed companies undermines Veikkaus’ player protection methods and Finnish tax revenue.

Sarekoski continued: “It is important that the amount of gaming margin outside the exclusive rights system is confirmed to be in the range of €500m to €550m, and thus also in the category we presented based on H2 Gambling Capital’s information.”

The main conclusion of the report – which was received this week by Interior State Secretary Akseli Koskela – was that a partial licence system should be adopted, whereby licences are issued to private firms for online betting and casino.

This would see Veikkaus retain exclusive rights to land-based betting and gaming, including slots, as well as retail lotteries and online lotteries.

However, the study did also feature a comparison of five other national igaming regulatory and licensing frameworks across Europe – the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Of these, the authors and signatures of the report – Harri Sailas (Chairman), Tuija Brax, Riitta Matilainen and Mikko Alkio – highlighted Norway as the ideal licensing model for Finland to follow.

Alongside Finland, Norway is one of the last European countries to use a monopoly model for its gambling market, although with some partial licences for online operators.

It is currently unclear when Finland would be able to adopt this kind of model, but SBC learned from Antti Koivula back in January that the entire legislative process would take ‘at least nine months’ at a minimum, if not more.

Regardless, Veikkaus is fully supportive of said reforms. The monopoly has been calling for an overhaul of the licensing system for some time now, with Sarekoski and Deputy CEO Velipekka Nummikoski putting the case forward last year.

The primary reason for this is because the company has been losing market share rapidly to overseas firms in recent years, and believes that a partial-licence system is a fix to Finland’s channelisation troubles.

Sarekoski concluded: “If the system change is headed towards a licence system, from Veikkaus’ point of view, it is desirable that this change happens faster rather than slowly.”

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