In Finland and online and land-based gaming operator Veikkaus Oy has announced that it is to more than double this year’s planned reduction of its slot machine estate as part of an ongoing responsible gambling campaign.

The state-run firm used an official press release to detail that it had about 18,500 individual slots at sites spread across the Scandinavian nation in January and initially intended to shrink this estate by some 40% to around 11,100 by the end of December. This endeavor was launched late last year after the firm came under fire for not doing enough to prevent vulnerable customers from developing dangerous gaming habits and was to be followed by further cuts that were to leave it with a collection of approximately 10,500 machines come the beginning of 2026.

Quickening cutback:

However, Veikkaus Oy has now explained that it is stepping up this envisioned reduction in hopes of hitting its longer-term target of having 8,000 fewer slots in circulation by the end of December. The operator stated that this accelerated exercise is destined to be conducted ‘in stages’ throughout the remainder of the year in hopes of creating ‘a secure business experience’ for those who may be at risk of developing a gambling addiction.

Welcome revival:

Jari Heino from Veikkaus Oy used the press release to additionally proclaim that his firm’s network of Pelaamot and Feel Vegas gaming clubs alongside its Casino Helsinki facility are set to emerge from their coronavirus-related lockdowns by welcoming ‘a limited number of customers’ from June 26. He moreover declared that the operator intends to again begin offering slots at sites such as restaurants, supermarkets and service stations in Finland from July 15 complete with newly-installed ‘responsibility measures’ including one that will issue players with regular 15-minute warnings.

Read a statement from Heino…

We will also approach hygiene more efficiently by installing, for example, protective screens on cash registers and gaming tables and in-between slot machines in addition to deploying floor stickers to remind customers about safety intervals and the wearing of gloves in the vicinity of gaming machines. In our own venues, various protective equipment has been acquired for staff as we want to ensure that employees and customers are protected against coronavirus.”

Coronavirus concerns:

Finally, Veikkaus Oy pronounced that it is to also help protect customers from the coronavirus pandemic as well as the risks associated with problem gambling by instituting reduced operating hours and a range of new social distancing measures.

Heino’s statement read…

“Everyone must have the opportunity to do business in shops, for example, without falling into gambling. Therefore, all of our dispersed slot machines will open for daily play from eleven o’clock every morning before subsequently being closed at four o’clock in the morning at the latest.”