Veikkaus considers temporary layoffs due to retail closures

Veikkaus closed its gaming arcades again last week.
Veikkaus closed its gaming arcades again last week.

Finland’s gaming monopoly could lay off up to 800 staff as Covid-19 restrictions continue to impact retail operations.

Finland.- The state-controlled gaming monopoly Veikkaus has begun consultations on temporary lay-offs due to the closure of retail locations owing to Covid-19 measures.

The operator is currently in talks with an eye to stand down 800 staff at points of sale for up to 90 days following the closure of its gaming arcades across Finland last week.

Jari Heino, SVP of channels and sales, said: “What counts most to us is the health of our employees and customers.

“The coronavirus has driven the entire society to the wall, and the challenges affect us heavily, too.

“We follow the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and have closed our slot machines and gaming arcades widely across the country during this and last week. Nobody knows yet when we can reopen them.

“What is important now is that we can enter into a dialogue with the representatives of the personnel, in order to realise the best possible plans and solutions for our employees, customers and partners.”

The operator has closed its gaming halls for a second time last week after a rise in Covid-19 cases. Venues previously closed from March 13 until June 26 in the case of casinos, and July 15 in the case of slots arcades.

Meanwhile, Veikkaus has accelerated its plans to decommission slot machines, with 8,000 being taken offline this year. It has also begun a pilot programme that requires all players to be registered for accounts to access machines. 

The company said in August that it expected full-year profits to be dented by up to €300m due to the impact of the pandemic. It plans to open a new casino in Tampere in December 2021, which it aims to make “a trendsetter of the European casino world”.

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