The Finnish gambling operator Veikkaus has announced that the total number of slot machines will be reduced to 15k by the end of 2020.
Finland.- Veikkaus has announced major changes to its business structure, which will see the total number of slot machines being reduced to 15k by the en of 2020. The changes are part of the company’s commitment to responsible gambling.
Service stations and hypermarkets will only be able to feature seven slot machines, which is a reduction from the 12 that they currently have. The limit for all other outlets drops to five slot machines.
By the end of 2020, approximately one-fifth of Veikkaus’ distribute slot machines (around 3,500) will be phased out. The total number of slot machines is approximately 18,500, and it is believed that one-third of network of sales outlets (2,200) will be affected by future reductions.
“The point of departure has been to spread the impact as evenly as possible across partners, industries and geographical areas. In addition, we have taken note of the criticism that the number of vending machines has been considered too high, especially at the larger sales outlets,” said Marko Peltokorpi, sales director of Veikkaus.
The Finnish operator will start applying new investment criteria from the beginning of next year. Reduction work will begin immediately in January and all reductions will be implemented by the end of 2020.
The reduction’s impact
As a result of the transaction, Veikkaus’ gross profit will decrease by approximately €30 million next year. The effect on sales commissions paid to agents is approximately €4.5 million. In addition, depreciation may affect the size of the outlet network in the future. “The reductions are noticeable and will certainly be visible to customers,” Peltokorpi says.
The removal could hurt NGOs
Experts that work with non-profits said that organisations in the social and health care field could end up suffering from a loss of funds in 2021.
Vertti Kiukas, secretary general of the SOSTE umbrella organisation for social and health NGOs, said that some associations are entirely funded by those proceeds from Veikkaus. “The smaller the organisation, the more dependent it is on funding,” he said. Kicks added that if Veikkaus profits experience a €100 million decline, it would result in NGOs losing around €35 million. Veikkaus’ CEO also recently said that the removal of slot machines could result in annual turnover decreasing by €150 million – €200 million.
“The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will ultimately decide whether assistance will be taken away from work focusing on mental health, children and the elderly,” he says.