Veikkaus sets sights on post-2026 Finland market leadership

Finland’s state-owned gambling monopoly Veikkaus Oy has initiated several structural changes ahead of a planned legislative overhaul of the country’s gaming licencing system.

Under plans by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, the monopoly held by Veikkaus is set to end in 2026, being replaced by a ‘partial licence system’. Veikkaus will remain exclusive licensee for lottery and land-based gaming, with private licences issued for online betting. 

In preparation for this, Veikkaus is undertaking a major structural overhaul, having earmarked the objective to become ‘the market leader in Finland in the future and an internationally competitive, growing gambling company’.

Heli Lallukka, Veikkaus’ Executive Vice President of HR, said: “The upcoming changes in the system are a great opportunity for Veikkaus, but they also bring many changes to us at Veikkaus. Our personnel structure will be revised, and we will be focusing on our core business, working to strengthen our knowhow there.”

The operational plans concern 825 employees, according to a statement from the firm, which acknowledged that around 182-215 staff members will be laid off with a further 110-150 seeing material changes to their contract terms.

As well as scaling back employment, the firm is also rolling back its retail presence across Finland.  The Casino Tempere venue is scheduled to close on 9 December, and a further 19 game arcades will shut their doors on 22 December.

Structurally, the group has been divided into three segments – domestic online betting and casino, headed by SVP Jarkko Nordlund; domestic games of chance, slot machines and arcades, led by SVP Nora Vähävirta; and international operations, overseen by SVP Jonas Reuter.

Finland is currently home to two state backed operators – Veikkaus and PAF, the latter the monopoly of the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea. However, the monopoly has been facing trouble with channelisation rates.

This particularly relates to the international online betting space. The betting services of many online multinational operators, which although not licensed in Finland, are available to Finnish customers.

This has led to large numbers of Finnish customers gambling outside of the monopoly’s boundaries, as the government and Veikkaus are determined that the best solution for consumers is to endorse a new partial licence system.

With private bookmakers now expected to enter the online market – Interior Ministry legislative plans will see the monopoly end on 31 December 2025, meaning private licences can be issued from 1 January 2026 onwards – Veikkaus is now evaluating how to prepare its business to be competitive at the domestic and international level.

Lallukka explained: “In the coming years, we will be making significant investments to strengthen our competitiveness. We already have top-level professionalism in the field, but in the future, we will also need knowhow from outside of the company. 

“For example, we can offer uniquely brilliant career paths and multiple opportunities in the tech sector at present, as well as in the future.”

Although acknowledging the downsizing of its workforce, Veikkaus remains positive in its HR policies as the restructuring progresses, noting that the cutbacks were ultimately less than previous expectations of 240 employee terminations and 195 changes in contract terms.

However, the date for when contracts end or are amended has not yet been decided on, attributed by Veikkaus to the fact that this hinges on whether employees accept positions and titles offered as well as the possibility of internal transfers.

Lallukka concluded: “Following constructive dialogue with the personnel representatives, we ended up with smaller final figures.”

SBC News Veikkaus sets sights on post-2026 Finland market leadership

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