Veikkaus, Finland’s sole company allowed to offer gaming services in the country, has confirmed this week that on January 12, 2021, it will carry out the previously announced mandatory identity verification controls across its network of slot machines.
The mandatory ID verification for slot machine players was expected to be introduced from 2023 under Finland’s amended Lotteries Act. However, following the pressure to improve its responsible gaming policies, Veikkaus expedited its plans and committed to the roll-out of the measures by the end of January 2021. In light of this, the operator has recently revealed that it would be able to complete the roll-out of the measures a few weeks earlier than scheduled.
The mandatory ID verification will require the brand’s slot player to identify themselves each time they want to play through the operator’s mobile app or a bank card that is connected to Veikkaus’ database. The new measures will also allow players to self-exclude from gambling across the operator’s network of slot machines. Furthermore, Veikkaus also highlighted that the new ID verification controls would help the company build an environment that would make it possible to identify and care for problem gamblers and players who show signs of problem gambling and addiction.
In light of this measure roll out, It should be noted that the mandatory ID verification would first be introduced through slot machines situated at non-Veikkaus owned locations, such as hotels, stores, and gas stations. Devices like this will require players to verify their identity from January 12 while Veikkaus will roll out the mandatory verification across its slot arcades in the summer of 2021.
The operator initially launched a pilot scheme for account-based play earlier this year in September. During this, Veikkaus introduced mandatory ID verification across several of its slot machines. It then extended the program to additional devices in November.
The operator is now looking to retire its slot machine estate by 8,000 slot machines by the end of the year as part of its current responsible gaming policies. It had previously announced that it would shut down 3,500 slot machines by the end of 2020, but plans to retire more units were later revealed.
In other news pertaining to the operator, IGT, Veikkaus’ online gambling software partner, announced earlier this week that it will soon launch its remote game server and online casino content with Finland’s gambling monopoly. Through this, Veikkaus will gain access to the latter’s content portfolio through IGT’s PlayDigital igaming platform solution.
Though Veikkaus’ efforts on responsible gambling is through its reduction of land-based slot machine offerings, the operator has shifted its emphasis towards online gambling. However, as it continues to broaden its new online casino offerings, the operator has recently caught the eyes of regulators over its multi-year and multi-million-euro partnership with IGT as the operator was found to have entered into a deal with IGT without holding a bidding process, which clashed with Finnish regulations.
In response to criticism over the agreement, Veikkaus Director of Legal Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, Pekka Ilmivalta, has refuted the claim earlier this year by saying that the operator’s partnership with IGT was a continuation of an old agreement rather than a separate tender.