Finland Now Has Two Land-Based Casinos as Veikkaus Expands Reach

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Yesterday, Veikkaus, the Finnish state-owned gaming operator, opened its second casino in the country. This comes as Veikkaus faces questions about its future as Finland’s gambling monopoly. It follows only months after the operator opened its first casino, Casino Helsinki.

Casino Tampere Comes to Finland

Casino Tampere is a new casino that offers both classic table games as well as slot machines. The casino also offers an electronic table gaming area that features live and automated roulette. It will have to follow the same guidelines as Casino Helsinki to ensure safer gambling.

Veikkaus stated that Casino Tampere and Casino Helsinki are the pioneers of responsible gaming in Europe. After being ordered by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior to implement the measure in April 2020, Veikkaus introduced loss limits to its Casino Helsinki slots machines in September.

Veikkaus’ monopoly status has been questioned by a legislative committee. The Administration Committee of Finland suggested earlier this month that Veikkaus be investigated for its unilateral control of the gaming space.

Veikkaus Needs Fixing, According to Some

The Administration Committee claimed that Veikkaus’ monopoly was “practically broken” and suggested that an inquiry be made “without delay.”

This suggestion was one of several proposed amendments to Finland’s Lottery Act. A bill filed in September suggested that payments be blocked from operators who are not Veikkaus.

The Constitutional Committee of Finland condemned this as unconstitutional. They argued that the amendment would violate Articles 15 and 18 of the Constitution.

Article 15 deals with property protection and Article 18 addresses freedom to conduct business.

Veikkaus, which announced in October that it would need to cut between 125 to 190 of its staff. However, it added that some of those fired could be rehired at Casino Tampere.

Gambling Addiction Concerns on the Rise

Recent years have seen a lot of heated debate about gambling harm. Efforts have been made to limit and reduce gambling machines. Jani Kinnunen, a game researcher with the University of Tampere, said that the new Tampere casino is an “interesting development.”

Kinnunen points to the fact that, while slot machines will be removed from shops, a new casino will offer significantly more gambling options than existing slots. “With the casino, gambling in the Tampere area will increase and so will gambling addictions,” she asserts.

Tuija Pekkala, a substance abuse nurse, has conflicting thoughts about the news of the new casino. He is a former gambling addict and has learned through his own experience and later work that treatment for gambling addicts in Finland remains in its infancy.

He states, “Veikkaus talks about responsible gaming, but where does it really appear when a person needs help? What are the government and Veikkaus revenues used for?”

Pekkala believes Veikkaus should be more responsible for preventing gambling addiction. He would also like to see the company use part of its profits to ensure recovery programs can flourish.

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