Veikkaus' Deputy CEO Velipekka Nummikoski takes the position of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV) that the current gambling system does not contribute to tackling gambling problems in the best possible way.
According to Lasse Pöyry, an economist at KKV's impact assessment unit, the problem with the current model is that the current monopoly does not prevent foreign online casinos from entering the country, but prevents them from being monitored and regulated. According to Pöyry, one should either open the gambling market to non-Veikkaus and regulate the operations of every gaming company operating in Finland, for example through licenses, or move to a genuine monopoly where the use of foreign online casinos is prevented within Finland.
Read more: Finnish Competition Authority: Veikkaus' monopoly must either be dismantled or strengthened - current gambling problems cannot be tackled with current methods
- The market share of foreign online casinos has been growing all the time and in that sense KKV's logic was correct. This intermediate space is awkward for everyone and in one direction that decision should be made. It is a political question whether to strengthen the monopoly or move in the other direction, that is, to open up the market. The development of market shares also shows that the intermediate state is not nationally favorable, Nummikoski says.
In terms of online casino games and sports betting, Veikkaus' market share is less than half and has steadily decreased, says Nummikoski. He refers to H2 Gambling Capital’s market share analysis. According to it, Overall, Veikkaus accounted for 60 percent of the Finnish online gambling market, but less than half in the most competitive segment.
Nummikoski says that the share of foreign online casinos in online gambling has been growing steadily.
Photo: Kimmo Räisänen
According to Nummikoski, approximately EUR 300 million was played out of Finland in euros.
- It's gaming that drains out, so those disadvantages can't be properly regulated when it's gaming outside the system.
According to a THL study, Veikkaus accounted for 83.6 per cent of consumption for online gamblers and non-exclusive games for 16.4 per cent. Of those who played Veikkaus and third-party games, about 22.6 percent of consumption went to third-party games.
According to Nummikoski, the differences in the results are the result of different measurement and research methods, but H2 Gambling Capital's analysis is generally considered reliable and is used around the world to study the gambling market.
- The point is that it is in no one's interest that a large part of gambling is gambling outside the official system. Solutions need to be made in either direction.
Nummikoski cannot say whether online casinos increased their market share in the Finnish gaming market with the Korona.
- Gambling abroad was also in an exceptional state, so it is difficult to anticipate permanent change. We know that they have been active, but we do not know the final result.
The closure of slot machines did not bring a significant rush of players to Veikkaus' online games, says Nummikoski. He recalls that, among other things, the betting games popular on the Internet were on hiatus during the pandemic, as sporting events were simply not organized.
The maximum loss limits for so-called fast-paced online gambling were reduced from EUR 2,000 to EUR 500 by decision of the Ministry of the Interior.
- The gambling market was in an exceptional situation worldwide. It would be quite daring to draw far-reaching conclusions.
Financially, the coronavirus also hit Veikkaus. Nummikoski does not want to go into details, as Veikkaus will publish its first half-year review in August. According to him, the review shows in more detail Veikkaus' result and in more detail the effects of the pandemic on the gambling market.
During the worst weeks, a third of the average result melted away. According to Nummikoski, if the normal weekly result is 30 million euros, now Veikkaus has reached 20 million.
With the opening of slot machines, gaming machines and the Helsinki Casino, gaming has risen closer to normal, but we are still behind.
- 40% of the vending machines are open and their utilization rate is approximately at the level of the time before the corona. Gaming has started in moderation.
With regard to betting, the situation has almost returned to normal. Gaming and Casino are increasingly subject to more stringent security measures.