Veikkaus raises the stakes on gambling wins

Plan would try to tempt more people to make bets with the state monopoly, instead of using foreign online betting sites.

File picture of slot machines in a casino / Credit: iStock

Finland’s national gambling company Veikkaus wants to increase the prize money for punters.

Finns are some of Europe’s most passionate gamblers, spending around €1.8 billion on Veikkaus’ games in 2017.

The current payout rate has been set by the government so that gambling doesn’t look overly attractive.

However, as foreign companies have been getting a foot in the door of the Finnish gambling market, Veikkaus has been trying to come up with new strategies to keep the players loyal – and one of those is boosting the cash you can win by playing machines or online games.

“Our strategy is to develop our internet games and make them as competitive as possible against the global market, to make sure that Finns will choose us instead of foreign companies”, says Veikkaus deputy CEO Velipekka Nummikoski.

While gamblers are increasingly switching to online betting, the benefits of having a national monopoly for gambling looks less attractive to Veikkaus.

“Although Veikkaus has exclusive rights for gambling in Finland, there is no laws or an act preventing people playing on the internet” Nummikoski tells News Now Finland.

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority KKV has been undertaking a thorough review of Veikkaus’ monopoly. In the past, gambling in Finland was restricted under the monopoly, in an effort to try and prevent issues such as debt.

Velipekka Nummikoski from Veikkaus says it’s not up to them to say what should happen next for gambling in Finland.

“We have done very good job in our field, but we are not the authority to decide which gambling model Finland should go for” he says.

Sweden makes monopoly concessions

Some other European countries have loosened the state’s grip on gambling.

Earlier this year the Swedish government made a move to essentially scrap the gambling monopoly, and set up a licensing system instead.

The idea is that foreign online gambling companies would have to be licensed in future to operate in Sweden.

A similar approach could be on the cards for Finland, especially considering how much the online betting companies which target gamblers in Finland have been eroding Veikkaus’ monopoly in recent years.