Veikkaus Forced To Reopen Ethics Council After Public Uproar

Veikkaus Forced To Reopen Ethics Council After Public Uproar August 16, 2019 August 16, 2019 Paul Butcher
 Industry August 16, 2019 by Paul Butcher

After receiving significant blowback from a controversial radio ad that poked fun at problem gamblers in Finland, the state-owned Veikkaus is taking steps to reestablish its internal ethics council.

The state-owned gambling monopoly has not had an ethics council since 2017, after Veikkaus was fused with horse racing operator Fintoto and slot machine firm Ray.

Since the merger, Veikkaus has remained the sole operator authorised to offer gaming services in Finland.

Veikkaus released a statement confirming that it will reopen the new Ethics Council which will be tasked to steer Veikkaus to be more socially responsible in providing its products and services to the general public.

The operator is also gradually rolling out updates to its guidelines which will now take into account responsible betting in its metrics, as well as focus on playing close attention to its clientele that exhibit signs of gambling addiction.

Radio Ad Appears To Egg On Problem Gamblers

The reestablishment of the ethics council was directly prompted by public uproar fueled by one of Veikkaus’ recent controversial radio advertisements.

In the now withdrawn ads, the operator appeared to urge frequent Finnish gamblers to indulge in even more wagering by employing the positive testimonials of therapists who encouraged the habit. Prior to the racket, the ad was supposed to run during the span of this year’s annual harness racing championship.

An external evaluation has been commissioned by Veikkaus as it looks to amend its marketing activities and advertising practices to better address the issue of problem gambling in the country. The operator’s administrators have been required to present a potential road map for the reopening of the ethics council at the company’s next board meeting.

Responsibility Metric To Curb Addiction 

Veikkaus chair Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo has assured the public that responsible gambling values remain central to the company’s operations as a gaming provider. Kallasvuo has confirmed that the state-owned gambling monopoly is taking steps to address the rising incidence of problem gambling in Finland.

Veikkaus has begun incorporating a new responsibility metric to its reward system, seen to evaluate customer habits for tell-tale signs of problem gambling behavior.

The controversy has stoked ongoing debate for the possibility of opening the regulated Finish gambling market to international betting companies, effectively abolishing the long-standing monopoly of Veikkaus.

The Prime Minister Antti Rinne has expressed interest in liberalizing Finland’s gaming industry, citing the changing global economic landscape.

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