Veikkaus: casino closure and layoffs as end of Finnish gambling monopoly approaches

Veikkaus will split into three units.
Veikkaus will split into three units.

The state-controlled gambling operator says it will lay off around a quarter of its staff.

Finland.- There are still a couple of years to go before Finland opens its gambling market to competition, but the state-controlled operator Veikkaus is already preparing for the end of its monopoly. It has announced that it expects to lay off “around 185-215” of its 825 staff while 110-150 staff will see material changes in their employment terms.

The operator will close Casino Tampere on December 9, plus 19 gaming arcades on December 22. Casino Tampere only opened in December 2021. Veikkaus had billed it as a “new type of casino” that would lead the way in responsible gambling.

Casino Tampere has approximately 80 staff. The gaming arcades affected include Playhouse-branded halls Joensuu Siltakatu, Helsinki Redi, Lappeenranta IsoKristiina, Espoo Ainoa, Pori Puuvilla, Lahti Trio, Lempäälä Ideapark, Imatra Mansikkala, Helsinki Kaisaniemi, Hämeenlinna Goodman, Mikkeli Akseli, Turku Skanssi and Lappeenranta Leiri.

Also closing in December are the Veikkaus-branded arcades Turku Aurakatu, Kuopio Kästyökatu, Helsinki Tripla, Pelaamo Seinäjoki Ideapark, Oulu Kauppurienkatu and the Game Room at Tornio Raja. The closures will leave Veikkaus with around 45 land-based gambling venues.

Heli Lallukka, Veikkau’s executive vice-president of human resources, said the operator had managed to reduce the number of layoffs initially expected after a “constructive dialogue with representatives”.

Lallukka added: “In the coming years, we will be making significant investments to strengthen our competitiveness. We already have top-level professionalism, but in the future, we will also need know-how from outside the company.”

The break up of Veikkaus

Finland’s government aims to launch a regulated gambling market by 2026, introducing a licensing system. Veikkaus plans to split into three units ahead of the market opening, reversing the 2017 merger between Veikkaus (betting), Raha-automaattiyhdistys (slots) and Fintoto (horse racing betting). Each of the three units will be led by a senior vice president.

Nora Vähävirta, the present chief operating officer of business operations, will take the role for the unit dedicated to domestic gaming, slot machines and arcades. Jarkko Nordlund, who became an executive director at Veikkaus in September, will be SVP for domestic online casino and betting operations and Jonas Reuter, who also joined in September, will take the corresponding position for international business.

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Land-based casinos Veikkaus