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Home BUSINESSCountry’s 3 gambling companies to merge into one
Fri, 16 Oct, 2015 02:04:38 AM
FTimes Report, Oct 16

The Ministry of the Interior has begun a legislative project aimed at merging the country’s current three gambling companies into a new wholly state-owned gambling company.

Representatives of the gambling operators – Veikkaus Oy, Raha-automaattiyhdistys (RAY) and Fintoto Oy, the state and beneficiaries have previously agreed on the merger principles through a so-called memorandum of understanding, said a press release.

The merger will reinforce the exclusive rights system related to gambling activities in Finland. In the future, the existence of three separate gambling operators could be interpreted as a competitive arrangement forbidden by the exclusive rights system operating within the EU’s internal market.

The exclusive rights system is the best way of preventing abuse and reducing the harmful social and health impacts of gambling. With the help of problem gamblers, a new gambling operator would be able to develop more effective tools for controlling gambling.

The revenues from Finnish gambling operators are used to promote social wellbeing. This will continue – no change in the position of beneficiaries is intended.

The distribution of proceeds from the new company has already been agreed in the memorandum of understanding.

A total of 53 per cent will go to the current beneficiaries of Veikkaus, 43 per cent to those of RAY and 4 per cent to those of Fintoto. The distribution of revenue will be governed under the new legislation.

The change concerns an administrative re-organisation which will have no direct effect on gambling activities or the range of gambling products. On the other hand, a larger company would enable the development of digital gambling without game overlaps, or hindrances due to a forbidden competitive situation. Digital gambling is set to grow in the future.

An integration company will be formed this autumn to make the practical arrangements for merging the three gambling operators’ activities into a new gambling company.

The Government Ownership Steering Department of the Prime Minister’s Office will be responsible for implementing the merger in practice, together with the gambling operators. The intention is to present the government proposal to parliament in autumn 2016.

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