Slot machines at a supermarket in Helsinki (Image: Lehtikuva)

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THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED GAMBLING MONOPOLY VEIKKAUS has reopened all of the slot machines in bars, supermarkets, restaurants, kiosks, and service stations across Finland today, following a four-month enforced closure that was necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The reopening of gambling services is likely to cause concerns that problem gamblers, who have been unable to play slots and video poker since the pandemic broke out, will relapse into potentially damaging behaviour. A recent survey of Finnish problem gamblers revealed that the COVID-induced measures had largely helped them reduce their gambling habits, with many respondents expressing a desire to see all gambling terminals shut down permanently. 

Veikkaus, meanwhile, has claimed that it has suffered losses equivalent to €10 million a week in gaming revenues since the beginning of the shutdown. They will also continue with their plan to reduce the accessibility of gambling in Finland. Almost half of Veikkaus' slot machines will be decommissioned this year, reducing the number of available terminals in Finland from 18,500 to 10,500. 

In addition, Veikkaus will introduce player identification requirements on all machines for the first time. 

 

Adam Oliver Smith - HT

Image Credit: Lehtikuva 

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