Olli Sarekoski, the CEO of Veikkaus, was photographed at the head office of the state-owned betting agency in Helsinki on 6 August 2019. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

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VEIKKAUS is set to reduce the number of slot machines in Finland, tells Olli Sarekoski, the chief executive of the state-owned gambling monopoly.

The reduction is made necessary by a legislative amendment that obliges slot route operators to introduce identification verification technology to their slot machines by 2022 in a bid to limit the adverse effects of gambling.

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“Gambling will decrease and there won’t be the same need for slot machines,” Sarekoski summed up in an interview with Kauppalehti on Monday.

Veikkaus has come under criticism for locating slot machines in busy public areas such as supermarkets and service stations. Almost 25,000 Finns have already expressed their support for a citizens’ initiative to remove all slot machines from kiosks, shops, restaurants and service stations.

The state-owned gambling agency has recently also faced criticism for its approach to advertising. It announced last week it has commissioned an external assessment of its marketing-related processes and will use the findings as a basis for deciding on the measures needed to address the problems.

The assessment is due for completion in late September.

Sarekoski on Monday told Kauppalehti that the problems in advertising have been caused partly by unambiguous legislation and a shift in public attitudes towards gambling over the past five years. Criticising gambling has become a “global megatrend”, according to him.

In order to maintain the current monopoly-based gambling system, he estimated, it will be necessary to prohibit gambling and money transfers from foreign gambling sites in Finland.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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