Veikkaus: Slot ID controls will cut player losses by €300m

Finnish gambling monopoly Veikkaus will customers to verify their identity to play its slots as of tomorrow (12 January), part of a series of player protection measures which the operator expects to cut player losses by up to €300m.

Under the new system, players must use a virtual identification card available on their phone, to log in before gambling.

The operator said that this will have “significant financial consequences,” anticipating a decline in player losses of around €300m from this and other player protection measures.

Veikkaus’ sales director Jari Heino said the change would make it easier for players to stay in control of their gambling.

“If a customer experiences gambling as problematic, as a result of this reform, for example, he has the opportunity to completely prevent himself from gambling on slot machines,” Heino said. “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.”

Veikkaus added that the change will make it much easier to ensure players are at least 18.

The move, which Veikkaus called “one of the most important in the recent history of Finnish gambling”, was first brought in through a pilot programme in certain regions of Finland from October 2020. Further regions were added in November, before in December the operator announced that it would roll the measure out nationwide from 12 January.

More control measures will be brought in this year and beyond. Veikkaus’ gaming halls will only allow customers that verify their identity to play from July 2021, while the operator expects all of its games to be subject to these ID requirements by 2023.

Veikkaus also added that it will expand loss limits for “fast-paced” games such as slots this summer. The operator cut loss limits for online casino games to €500 per week in April 2020, a measure it later opted to keep in place until at least March 2021.

Veikkaus has also taken efforts to reduce the number of slots in operation across the country, with 8,000 to be taken offline by the end of the year. Having originally committed to taking 3,500 devices out of service, it increased this number in June.

Currently, almost all Veikkaus slot machines are unavailable due to shutdowns brought in to limit the spread of Covid-19, but many of these shutdowns are set to end tomorrow when the new ID rule comes into place.

Last month, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) called for Finland to “fix” its gambling policy by ending Veikkaus’ monopoly status. It pointed out that Finland was the only European Union member state that still maintained a gambling monopoly and argued the monopoly model was impossible to enforce online.

In the first half of 2020, Veikkaus reported a a 28.1% year-on-year decline in gross revenue to €607.2m and €332.7m in profit, down 33.6%, due mostly to the impacts of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). It added at the time that it expected Covid-19 to reduce profits by €300m.

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