The national trade and labour market association MaRa has expressed its support in keeping slot machines in restaurants and gas stations.
Finland.- MaRa, a labour market organisation from Finland, has called for the retention of slot machines in restaurants and gas stations. The group said that removing them would lead to disproportionate financial losses to those establishments.
Michael Egerer, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, disagreed as he said that MaRa’s perspective makes it harder to reduce the risk of playing games. There are currently 2,300 slot machines in restaurants and around 800 at gas stations.
Interior Minister Maria Shisalo said last month that she was ready to consider moving the slots to separate areas, where customers would be subject to authentication. MaRa’s Managing Director Timo Lapin said that the proposal raises concerns, especially for gas station operators.
“According to Veikkaus, if 1.3% of households have problems and the solution is to completely remove slot machines from restaurants and service stations. We think that this is an oversised activity,” he said. The company made approximately €80 million from the 2,300 machines in bars and restaurants.
Mika Hokkanen, Managing Director of the Finnish Gasoline Dealers Association, expects the economic impact for them will be taken into account when considering the effects of gambling in Finland. “If the proposal to transfer gaming machines went through, it would have a devastating effect on small municipalities. Our entrepreneurs in the industry are major employers to the local population,” he explained.
Most politicians are in favour of the reduction
A survey from local media agency Yle revealed that most political parties are in favour of new and tougher restrictions on slot machines and gambling.
Sirpa Paatero, Minister of Local Government and Ownership Steering told the media outlet that she will work to advance the identification timetable with Veikkaus in the upcoming months. “I’ll be meeting with Veikkaus earlier than originally planned. We need to figure out how to technically implement this ID reform,” she said.
Moreover, Yle asked politicians if they believe machines should be removed from shops and be relocated to dedicated arcades. Most of the parties answered that they would be in favour of that.