Veikkaus warns of job cuts as Finland prepares to open gambling market

Veikkaus is preparing to see its monopoly end by 2026.
Veikkaus is preparing to see its monopoly end by 2026.

The state-controlled gambling operator expects to close some of its gaming arcades.

Finland.- Veikkaus, Finland’s state-controlled gambling operator, has provided more details of how it sees its future after the introduction of a competitive regulated gambling market in the country. The Finnish government plans to end Veikkaus’s monopoly on sports betting and online casino by 2026.

Reporting financial results last month, Veikkaus said it was “strategically prepared” for the change. However, it has now revealed that it expects to close gambling arcades and lay off around 240 staff.

The government plans to split Veikkaus into separate companies that will operate within a group, reversing the 2017 merger of the Veikkaus sports betting operation with slot operator Raha-automaattiyhdistys and horse race betting operator Fintoto.

Veikkaus says it has begun planning changes to its organisational structure and that more discussions will be held this month. It expects to close up to 15 land-based gaming halls and may also close its Tampere casino. Meanwhile, it forecasts that it will cut its workforce by around 240. Another 195 employees could see significant changes in their terms of employment.

Veikkaus CEO Olli Sarekoski said: “Preparing for changes in the gaming industry and internationalisation are a really important part of Veikkaus’ growth strategy. We are building a future where Veikkaus is Finland’s most successful gambling company and a major player in the international market.

“We want to be competitive in the future licence market and vital in the monopoly market. That’s why we need changes in our operations that affect the entire company.

“It means many parallel changes. We go through the entire organisation from the point of view of profitability and growth. We also have to make difficult decisions. For some, these changes may mean the end of the employment relationship. We care and take care of them.”

Finland plans to allow private companies to apply for licences to run sports betting and online casino while Veikkaus would retain a monopoly for lottery and retail slot machines. The first company to announce that it will be applying for a licence is Finlandia Casino, which has rebranded as Winlandia. Until now, it has been targeting the country under a Maltese licence.

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