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Home BUSINESSSingle company to operate gambling in Finland
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Sat, 14 Mar, 2015 12:02:42 AM
FTimes Report, Mar 14
 
The working group on Friday handed its report over to the Interior Päivi Räsänen on gambling on Friday. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
A working group consisting of public officials has proposed that the gambling activities of Veikkaus Oy, Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY) and Fintoto Oy be merged.
 
The proposal is included in the working group’s report presented to Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen on Friday, according to a press release issued by the ministry.
 
The proposal was made after considering a number of alternative options to operate gambling in Finland.
 
A horizontal parliamentary steering group also appointed for the task worked alongside the working group, commenting on its work and consulting the views of the beneficiaries.
 
The parliamentary steering group chaired by Member of Parliament Ilkka Kanerva agrees with the working group’s proposal on a single gambling operator and proposes that this be entered in the following government’s programme.
 
The merger would further reinforce Finland’s consistent and systematic gambling policy and contribute to preventing the negative effects of gambling, said the release.
 
In a single-operator model, special attention should be paid to any effects on the equine industry.  
 
Keeping the idea in mind, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry should explore further how to safeguard the future of the sector, if a single-operator model is adopted.
 
In the new model, the Prime Minister’s Office would be responsible for the ownership steering of the company to be established.
 
File picture of gambling. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Ownership steering should be organised in such a way that it ensures dialogue with parliamentary decision-makers and the civil society.  
 
According to a study conducted by an external body, merging the gambling operators could yield annual cost synergies of up to tens of millions of euros, and similar synergies would be expected from total sales annually. The merger would allow avoiding multiple simultaneous investments and releasing capital for hundreds of millions of euros at one go.
 
The new company would have a supervisory board. Furthermore, a coordinating body would be set up at the Ministry of the Interior for the management of gambling policy, said the release.
 
The responsibility for supervising gambling operators should be transferred from the National Police Board to the Ministry of the Interior, while securing the autonomy and independence of supervision.
 
In addition, more resources should be allocated for supervision to ensure more effective intervention in gambling activities breaching the Lotteries Act as per the proposal.
 
The beneficiaries would remain the same, and the revenue from gambling activities would continue to be used for non-profit purposes.
 
According to the proposal, the revenue would be distributed as follows: Veikkaus Oy’s beneficiaries 53 per cent, RAY’s beneficiaries 43 per cent and Fintoto Oy’s beneficiaries 4 per cent.
 
The working group was chaired by Director of Legislative Affairs Katriina Laitinen from the Ministry of the Interior’s Police Department.
 
 
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