Before the end of its gambling monopoly in Finland, Veikkaus will cut about a quarter of its workforce and split operations into three different entities.
Veikkaus confirmed that “around 185-215” of its 825 employees will lose their jobs after the operator completes HR consultations. There will also be significant changes to employment conditions for “approximately 110-150” workers.
The operator also announced that it will close Casino Tampere on December 9, less than two years after the facility opened.
After discussions with staff representatives have been concluded, 19 additional arcades will be closed on December 22nd.
Veikkaus divides the business in three units
As part of the broader changes, Veikkaus will effectively be split into three operating units, led by senior vice presidents.
Nora Vähävirta, currently Chief Operating Officer of Business Operations, will oversee domestic gaming, slots and arcade operations. Meanwhile, Jarkko Nordlund, who joined Veikkaus as managing director in September, will take charge of the domestic online casino and betting business.
Jonas Reuter, who was also recently hired by Veikkaus, will lead the operator’s international business. Reuter, a former IGT and Scientific Games executive, was named EVP of international operations in September.
The layoffs are not as serious as initially expected
Although the upcoming personnel changes at Veikkaus are significant, they are not as serious as initially expected.
When restructuring talks began in September, Veikkaus warned that up to 240 jobs could be cut. Employment changes were also planned for a further 195 employees.
Heli Lallukka, executive vice president of human resources, said “smaller final numbers” had been determined after “constructive dialogue with human resources representatives.”
Lallukka added: “In the coming years, we will make significant investments to strengthen our competitiveness. We already have a high level of professionalism, but in the future we will also need know-how from outside the company.”
The exact dates of the employment changes will be determined by the end of this year.
Closure of arcades
Casino Tampere employs around 80 people and is one of 65 gaming venues currently operated by Veikkaus in Finland.
Arcade operations will cease at Playhouse-branded venues, including Joensuu Siltakatu, Helsinki Redi, Lappeenranta IsoKristiina, Espoo Ainoa and Pori Puuvilla. Playhouse Lahti Trio, Lempäälä Ideapark, Imatra Mansikkala, Helsinki Kaisaniemi, Hämeenlinna Goodman, Mikkeli Akseli, Turku Skanssi and Lappeenranta Leiri will be closed.
The Veikkaus-branded arcades in Turku Aurakatu, Kuopio Kästyökatu and Helsinki Tripla will also be closed. Pelaamo Seinäjoki Ideapark and Oulu Kauppurienkatu will close in December, as will Game Room at Tornio Raja.
The monopoly model is coming to an end in Finnland
In June, the Finnish government announced plans to end Veikkaus’ gambling monopoly by 2026 as part of sweeping reforms.
The main aim is to reduce the financial and social harms of gambling by directing more consumers to licensed operators. According to a report published in April, about 50% of gaming activity in the country takes place on unlicensed platforms.
The proposed new system would allow private companies to apply for a license to operate sports betting and online casinos. Veikkaus would retain its monopoly status for lottery and retail slot machines.
However, Veikkaus is to be split into separate companies within the same group. This would reverse a 2017 merger between betting brand Veikkaus, slots company Raha-automaattiyhdistys and horse betting operator Fintoto.