Veikkaus is taking significant measures to promote responsible gaming. Compulsory authentication covering slots gaming was introduced to the slot machines in stores, restaurants, kiosks, and service stations in January. The company aims to adopt compulsory authentication even in its gaming arcades this year. With compulsory authentication, the players have a chance to set a complete ban on their gaming, if they wish.
To date, a total of 5,600 customers have set a self-ban on their slot machine gaming in the retail outlets. As for online gaming, up to 27,500 customers have opted for a self-exclusion. In all, 28,400 have effective gaming self-exclusions at the moment. Some customers have set a self-exclusion on both their online and slot machine gaming.
– We want to build a gaming environment where we bear responsibility for those who are at risk of getting into trouble with their gaming. Compulsory authentication has brought us many new kinds of opportunities to do so, says Veikkaus’ Vice President, CSR Jarmo Kumpulainen.
Veikkaus’ objective is to make all of its games subject to compulsory authentication by the end of 2023. When the games can only be played authenticated, the players can, for example, set a complete ban on their gaming. In addition, they have access to the other tools for responsible gaming.
– Veikkaus continues to work for safer gaming, and we are constantly planning diverse new solutions to help our customers manage their gaming better. We want to be a trailblazer of responsible gaming, Kumpulainen says.
Gaming self-exclusions increasingly frequent on slot machines – up to 5,600 people have opted for a ban
Playing slots on the machines placed in stores, kiosks, service stations, and restaurants has been subject to authentication since 12 January 2021. During these two months, a total of 63,000 customers have played slots on the machines, and the weekly number of different players has averaged 22,600. In all, Veikkaus has about two million registered, i.e., authenticated customers.
When authenticated, players can set a self-exclusion on their playing of the slot machines in the stores, restaurants, kiosks, and service stations for a fixed term or until further notice. At the beginning of March, ca. 5,600 customers had effective self-exclusions on slot machine gaming, of which 2,450 were effective until further notice and the rest for shorter periods. Of the people having set slots gaming self-exclusions, 77% were men, which corresponds to the share of men out of slots players in general.
– We have noticed that self-exclusions on slots gaming have become more frequent, as more options have been available. However, we will not be able to analyse the situation thoroughly until after the exceptional conditions are over – the fact is that we currently have only ten percent of the machines up and running, due to the coronavirus, Kumpulainen explains.
With compulsory authentication, slots players can also access the “Panic button”, enabling them to block their slots gaming until the end of the following day. Since compulsory authentication entered into force in January, players have pressed the Panic button over 610 times on slot machines.
In 2021, Veikkaus aims to make slot machine gaming subject to the same loss limits that are already being applied to the fast-paced online games.
Compulsory authentication facilitates age limit controls in stores
Veikkaus games are for adults only. Compulsory authentication makes age limit controls easier and provides an extremely valuable tool for Veikkaus’ partners when they carry out age limit controls.
– For the grocery stores, it is important that the age limit controls of all products subject to age limit supervision work reliably. As regards Veikkaus’ slot machines, compulsory authentication makes the work of the retail personnel much easier, since the age of a person is automatically verified before they start to play. We think it is excellent that authenticated gaming also provides technological solutions for the effective prevention of problem gambling, says Ilkka Nieminen, Director at Finnish Grocery Trade Association.
Veikkaus’ actions for responsibility in 2020
Despite the challenges and insecurity due to the coronavirus epidemic, Veikkaus made several major decisions with significant impacts on the building of a more responsible gaming environment in 2020.
• The number of slot machines placed at the retail outlets (stores, kiosks, restaurants, and service stations) was reduced by forty percent, from 18,500 to 10,500. Veikkaus’ slot machines have a degree of recycling and recovery of 97%; the removed slot machines are recycled and reprocessed in Finland.
• We limited the number of slot machines per point of sales from a maximum of 15 to a maximum of 4.
• We brought forward the transition to compulsory authentication: the slot machines of the retail network have been subject to full authentication since 12 January 2021.
• We decided to extend compulsory authentication to cover all gaming by the end of 2023.
• We made the model of supervision of underage gaming stricter and raised the reference age limit to 30.
• The update of our strategy, foregrounding player-centred responsibility, was finalized.
• Veikkaus’ CSR Programme 2020−2025 was finalized.
• Veikkaus’ Responsibility Principles of Marketing Communications were updated.
• We prepared an exam on responsible marketing communications, which everyone working with marketing, including our external partners, must pass.
• We designed a study concept of six online courses on responsibility, compulsory to all Veikkaus’ employees.
• We designed a study concept lasting for one month to the gaming arcade employees, to minimize the layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
• The Ethical Advisory Board, appointed by the Board of Directors, started its operations.
• We launched a contacting pilot of customers playing a lot.