Finland Slashes Monthly Gambling Stoploss To €500 During Covid-19 Pandemic
Finland’s Ministry of the Interior has instituted new guidelines that cap monthly and weekly gambling losses for the country’s monopoly operator Veikkaus. Now online casino games from Veikkaus will only be able to accept a fraction of former betting limits in an effort to protect vulnerable punters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Ministry’s new regulation, the maximum allowable losses incurred from gambling will now be €500 each month, from the original €2,000 stoploss. The stated reason for the reduction is the ongoing pandemic that has kept many punters at home, seeking ways to alleviate their boredom. The daily stoploss for gamblers was also set at €500, from the original €1,000. Once players hit their daily stoploss, it will prevent them from gambling until next month.
The stoplosses will apply to online slots, instant win games, bingo, and table games except for poker. It will come into effect from May 1, and will remain until at least September 30, 2020.
Veikkaus Ready to Implement New Decree
Pekka Ilmivalta, Veikkaus’ director of legal and social responsibility, announced that the firm has accomplished all technical tasks related to the stoplosses, and will be able to start enforcing the decree immediately once it takes effect.
Veikkaus also announced that they will be suspending all lottery draws indefinitely starting May 4, as the operator pivots to its core lottery offerings during this period. Veikkaus will continue to sell raffle tickets which can be given as prizes for instant win games. The corresponding draws to follow once the suspension ends.
Pandemic Losses Currently at €60 Million
Veikkaus has a gambling monopoly in Finland and is feeling the full impact of COVID-19 on the gambling industry. Last week, before the lottery draw suspension and the decreased stoplosses, Veikkaus revealed that their revenue has taken a 40.6% dip since the coronavirus hit. The country’s brick and mortar gaming venues and casinos were all shut entered down on March 13 and there is no indication as of now as to when they will reopen.
Veikkaus estimates that the cost of five weeks of inactivity out of their land-based operations is roughly €60 million in lost revenue. Meanwhile, few of their customers appear to have moved over to their online offerings in response to social distancing measures. Veikkaus reported that their online division’s revenue has increased by €1.5 million since the shutdowns.
To survive the ongoing revenue crunch brought about by the pandemic, Veikkaus is slated to furlough most of its retail staff, resulting in the temporary loss of jobs for up to 675 of the firm’s employees.
Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world