Finland Implementing New Slot Machine Verification Measures

  • People have to verify their identity before they can play a slot machine at a third-party location
  • Veikkaus expects player protection changes will lead to customer losses falling by about €300m
  • Changes will help fight problem gambling and underage play
  • Veikkaus venues will introduce verification checks and loss limits on physical slots this summer
casino slot machine
Finland is introducing new identification measures on Tuesday, January 12 for people playing physical slot machines in non-casino locations. [Image:]

Strict identification rules

Finland’s national gambling monopoly operator Veikkaus is implementing new player protection rules for gambling machines in third-party locations as part of its problem gambling responsibility program. The changes will take effect at 11am Tuesday. 

Anyone wants to play slot machines at non-casino venues such as stores, restaurants, and kiosks will have to provide identification before they can start gambling. They can verify their identity by using a mobile app, Veikkaus player card, or a payment card that connects to the Veikkaus customer database. The changes will go into effect for slot machines at Veikkaus venues at a later date.

estimates that player losses will drop by about €300m

As a result of these changes, Veikkaus is expecting “significant financial consequences.” The operator estimates that player losses will drop by about €300m ($364.5m). Veikkaus sales director Jari Heino spoke about the identification checks, saying “through this measure we want to offer preventive tools to those who are at risk of difficulties.”

The new rules will help problem gamblers as they won’t be able to play on slot machines if they self-exclude. People will also be able to better monitor their gambling spending. The need to provide verification will help cut down on underage gambling; the minimum age requirement for gambling machines is 18 years old.

Comprehensive measures

Identification measures on slot machines have been in a pilot phase in certain parts of Finland since October 2020. Additional areas became a part of the pilot program in November, with Veikkaus announcing in December that the new protocols would begin across the country on January 12, 2021.

Beginning this summer, Veikkaus arcades, gaming houses, and Feel Vegas venues will also require gamblers to show identification before playing. A new loss limit will be in place on physical slot machines, something which is already in effect for certain online casino games in Finland. 

The €500 ($607.50) loss limit started in April 2020 and will remain until March 2021 at the earliest. The Finnish government introduced these loss limits because of concerns that the pandemic would lead people to gamble to excess.

Gambling landscape in Finland

Currently, there are approximately 10,000 Veikkaus gambling machines around the country through its partner network. Over the past few years, Veikkaus has significantly reduced its total number of machines because of problem gambling concerns.

Many of the operator’s slot machines will not be available on January 12 when the changes go into effect because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Veikkaus experienced a 28.1% year-on-year drop in gross revenue during the first six months of 2020. Its profit fell 33.6% to €332.7m ($404.2m) during this period, mainly because of the pandemic. Finland is the only European Union member that still has a gambling monopoly.

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