Veikkaus to reduce slot machines in Finland by 8,00015th June 2020 12:48 pm GMT
Finland's state-owned gaming operator Veikkaus has confirmed that it will further reduce the number of slot machines in operation across the country.
The operator had previously announced at the end of last year that it would reduce the number of slot machines in its retail network by 3,500 by the end of 2020 as part of its responsible gambling initiatives.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic however, Veikkaus has now decided to reduce its slot machines by 8,000, more than double its previous plans.
By the end of this year, the company estimates that there will be a maximum of 10,500 slot machines across its retail network of shops, kiosks and service stations, compared to around 18,500 at the start of this year.
Veikkaus will also reduce the maximum number of slot machines allowed per point of sale to four machines by January 2021.
These slot machines will be able to be played by customers from 15 July, with Veikkaus planning to reopen its arcades for limited numbers of customers (Casino Helsinki, Feel Vegas and Pelaamo arcades) on Friday 26 June.
“Everyone should have a chance, for example, to do their shopping without relapsing to gambling,” said Veikkaus senior vice president of channels and sales Jari Heino. “That is why all our decentralized slot machines only open for playing at 11am every day. They close by 4am at the latest. This change will remain effective until compulsory identification enters into force in January 2021.
“After that, people will have the chance to impose a total block on their slots gaming in retail network.”
Veikkaus will also introduce session timers across all slot machines, announcing the time spent gambling every 15 minutes.
“We will also take special care of hygiene, for example, by installing plexiglass shields to the checkout desks and between the slot machines, together with floor graphics to remind people to keep a safe distance, and we will place hand sanitizer dispensers near the slot machines,” continued Heino. “We have provided the arcades with various protective gear for our employees. We want to make sure that both Veikkaus’ staff and the customers have the best possible protection against the coronavirus.
“We are ready to react fast, if the situation requires it. We want to keep up dialogue with our stakeholders and work for an even safer gaming environment every day.”