Finnish gambling monopoly removes over 100 jobs

Veikkaus, Finnish national betting agency removed 129 jobs after co-determination talks that ended on Monday. Veikkaus is fully owned by the government and has a legal monopoly on sports betting and lotteries in Finland. The company says that Veikkaus has about 400,000 users each week and 2 million regular visitors. It was founded in 1940 by the Football Association of Finland and the Finnish Workers’ Sports Federation. The company became especially popular after it started offering the national lottery, which today about 70% of Finnish population participates in. 

As counterintuitive as it might seem, Veikkaus is managed by the Ministry of Education of Finland. Proceeds from the business are also given to the ministry to allocate. In 2010 Veikkaus gave the ministry almost half a billion euros to share with other organizations. The Ministry of Education allocates the funds in a socially optimal way to amateur sports, arts and sciences. Gaming rules, on the other hand, are regulated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

The company’s management began the co-determination talks with its employees earlier in April. The decision that has been reached was to cut the jobs of about 65-70 contracted employees, 20 temporary employees. 25 people were set to retire next year. The decision to cut the jobs was motivated by cost-effectiveness. The company aims to put more emphasis on online services and said the decision would help with competition. “These changes will improve our cost-effectiveness compared to the earlier model with three [separate] firms,” – commented Veikkaus CEO, Olli Sarekoski. He also said that the company would help those who lost their jobs with the transition (more info available here).

Veikkaus oversees 20 different games, but its main source of income is the Finnish national lottery, which the company says at some point constituted about one third of the total sales. Football pools and Fixed Odds Betting, which are sports betting games, are also very popular among the users. In the beginning of 2017 Veikkaus merged with a casino and fruit machine company RAY and Fintoto. The merged company kept the name of Veikkaus.