Veikkaus will limit gaming machines to a maximum of seven per location from January

The state-owned gambling monopoly will remove a total of 15,000 consoles from supermarkets, restaurants, petrol stations and kiosks by the end of 2020.

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

Finland’s state-run gambling monopoly Veikkaus says it will start reducing the number of gaming machines from January – and limit them to just seven per location.

It means by the end of 2020 there will be 15,000 fewer machines available than at present. The move comes in response to criticism that Veikkaus doesn’t do enough to stop people gambling, and as the company introduces new age restrictions on the machines.

“We have taken note of the criticism that the number of gaming machines has been considered too high, especially at the larger sales outlets” says Marko Peltokorpi, Executi Vice President of Veikkaus.

In practice the number of slot machines is limited to seven in hypermarkets and service stations where currently there could be as many as 12 machines. The limit for other locations like smaller shops and restaurants is five gaming consoles.

“The reductions are noticeable and will certainly be visible to customers” says Peltokorpi.

The company says the reductions in the number of machines will hit its profits, with a drop of €30 million forecast in 2020. There will also be an estimated €4.5 million fall in the amount of sales commissions paid to retailers who have the machines on their premises.

Veikkaus plans to update its website every two months, starting in March 2020, to show how many gaming machines have already been removed.