The Finnish national betting agency, Veikkaus Oy, eliminated a total of 129 jobs after co-determination negotiations were brought to an end at the beginning of the week.
Veikkaus is currently fully-owned by the country’s Government, which has allowed to impose a legal monopoly on the Finnish lotteries and sports bettingoperations. According to information released by the company itself, Veikkaus has about 2 million regular customers, while approximately 400,000 people use its services every week.
The company, which is currently operated by the Ministry of Education of Finland, was established in 1940 as a result of the joined efforts of the Finnish Workers’ Sports Federation and the Football Association of Finland. Following the decision to start offering the national lottery, Veikkaus gained increasing popularity among local citizens, with approximately 70% of the Finnish people taking part in these services.
For the time being, it is the Ministry of Education which allocates the proceedsgenerated from the state-owned company and distributes them to various art and science projects, as well as to amateur sports. Back in 2010, Veikkaus provided the Ministry with approximately half a billion Euros to be shared with other national organizations. Gambling regulation, however, is regulated by Finland’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Co-determination talks started at the beginning of April between representatives of the employees and the company management. At the beginning of the talks the company said that up to 140 employees were at risk of losing their jobs.
Finns Are the Biggest Gamblers in Europe, Survey Says
Despite the fact that Veikkaus holds the monopoly over sports betting and lotteries in the country and the gambling sector is regulated by local authorities, Finland has been among the biggest spenders in terms of gambling. According to a recent survey, local citizens rank fourth among the biggest gamblers on a global scale, with around €2 billion spent on an annual basis on various games of chance.
A 2015 report issued by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish people were the ones who wagered the most in Europe, with approximately 80% of the country’s population gambling every year.
As mentioned above, the local gambling sector is directly controlled by the Government through a monopoly controlled by the national betting agency Veikkaus. Apart from the profit brought by the company to government ministries, Vekkaus also brings over €200 million in taxes to the Finnish Government budget.
Earlier in May, Veikkaus Oy has terminated a large number of customers’ accounts due to clarification of certain bank account policies. The exact number of accounts closed has not been disclosed by the state-owned agency, but according to media reports they amounted to approximately 30,000.