The New Line: Finnish Landscape Undergoing TransformationPublished September 1, 2020 by Lee R
Finland's downsizing of land-based operations will accelerate in the current climate.
Finland monopoly Veikkaus is acknowledging the blow from COVID-19.
The adjusted projections of the company expect profits for 2020 to fall some €300m due to COVID-19.
As the country looks forward to effectively opening up the market, the new revenue shortfalls become an added factor to address in any subsequent legislation.
Veikkaus reports H1 2020 totaling €607.2m, which represents a year-on-year drop of 28% H1 2019. Profit dropped more than a third to €332.7m, with Veikkaus acknowledging the likelihood of not meeting the €1b full-year profit originally established pre-Covid in the 2020 state budget.
The mid-March shutdowns of Veikkaus' slots halls and slots in private businesses in Finland stayed closed for several months to push H1 land-based retail revenue down to 55.9%.
Veikkaus was already engaged in reduction of increasingly controversial land-based slots. However, the H1 11.8-point rise in digital market was ultimately attributed to the greater Covid-related land-based decline; digital casino sales dropped 0.9% year-on-year.
During the sports shutdowns, Finland betting saw revenue drop 22% to €58m.
Land-based and online casino games together contributed €243.2m (down 46% year-on-year); while lottery fell a less harsh 4.3% to €306m.
Plans for 2020
Veikkaus plans to reduce machines from 18,500 to 10,500 by year’s end.
Protections Coming in Place
Next January slots players will be required to verify their identity before playing; with automatic machine time alerts issued every 15 minutes of play.
Finland indicates is among world’s biggest gamblers by per capita spending, but public perceptions of gambling have turned increasingly skeptical in recent years.
The public is currently calling for ending the Veikkaus monopoly in favor of a more open and competitive market.
Press Suggests Liberalisation
The press has entered the discussion with Finnish media outlet Taloussanomat publishing a series on what gambling model would work best for the country.
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority economist Lasse Pöyry called for a more competitive model resembling Sweden's and Denmark's which would channel players to locally licensed sites and to give regulators more ability to monitor for potential problem gambling behavior.
If Finland can get past the politics and stigmas, then a new regulation model would certainly be beneficial to the market in this new era of increased online play.