Finland’s gambling industry has been controlled by three state owned gambling operators in Veikkaus Oy who monitored local betting and the national lottery; Raha-automaattiyhdistys (RAY) controlled the casino industry and Fintoto Oy was in charge of pari-mutuel betting. The government decided in 2015 that it would be better to merge all three state owned gambling operators into one major operator.

The government recently confirmed that the new operator will function under the name of Veikkaus and will launch during the first part of 2017. Veikkaus will operate under a new brand and logo upon its launch in 2017. The new company is currently looking for a CEO and will provide employment opportunities to nearly 2,000 individuals. A multi-stage study was conducted to rebrand the new company and the study revealed that close to 5,000 Finns wanted the name Veikkaus as it meant ‘security and responsibility.

Functioning as the single gambling operator in Finland, Veikkaus will be responsible for monitoring all forms of gambling in the country and be in charge of all gambling regulation. The government believes that this merger will be beneficial to the gambling industry in the country and has broken the merger and transition into different phases.

The first step is establishing a temporary integration company that will be responsible for creating a memorandum of understanding that will help with the merger of the three state owned gambling operators. The new company will have six members on its board of directors. The government will appoint the chairman and two members while each gambling operator will appoint one board member.

The second step of the process is to create a fully owned state company. This responsibility has been delegated to the Government Ownership Steering Department of the Prime Minister’s Office who will collaborate with all three state gambling operators. The Ministry of the Interior will be responsible for drafting the required legislation and coordinating the project while the Parliament will monitor the entire project.

In a statement, Juha Koponen, CEO said “We think that establishing a new gambling operator is a rational reform. The decision to merge provides an explicit ground for ensuring the efficiency and competitiveness of the Finnish gambling system. We consider this important in order that we can offer the best possible customer service and prevent the harms of gambling efficiently. We are ready for the change and hope that it is implemented as quickly as possible”.

Finnish gamblers have shown a preference to play Finnish games as they find them reliable and interesting. Close to 93 percent of all gambling in the country is estimated to be directed to domestic operators. Koponen believes that the merger will create a single operator who has both the experience and knowledge of the country’s gambling industry and will leverage that know how to prevent problem gambling and grow the industry.