The second wave of coronavirus brought new business closures in Finland, including the state gambling monopoly Veikkaus, which has started layoff negotiations with its employees after the closure of the company’s retail slot operations.
Veikkaus announced friday that it is negotiating with its retail staff “possible temporary layoffs, rather than permanent cuts in staff.” The decision made by the company will affect about 800 employees. Most could be inactive for about three months.
Before announcing its decision, the Finnish monopoly had launched a series of alerts related to its network of retail slot machines and its gaming halls. Following the statement by medical authorities earlier in the week of rising rates of coronavirus infection in Central Ostrobothnia that region entered an “accelerated phase” and Veikkaus closed its local retail operations.
Later, dangerous increases were also detected in the South Karelia and South Savo regions, for which the operator announced that it would suspend its retail operations in the areas immediately.
Jari Heino, Senior Vice President of Channels and Sales at Veikkaus stated last week that the second wave of COVID-19 has “pushed the whole of society to the wall” and that the most important thing for the company for now is to take care of “the health of our employees and customers “.
The company does not know when it will be able to reopen its retail operations, which is why it is negotiating with the staff in order to “make the best possible plans and solutions” for the benefit of both parties involved.
The company’s revenue projections for this year will decrease as a result of this new closure. Veikkaus had already estimated revenue of less than 300 million euros compared to previous forecasts.
The operator has made efforts this year to mitigate the decline in land-based slots by improving and increasing its digital promotions, which face stiff competition with international gaming sites, as opposed to land-based games.
While the operator’s ground operations generate significant revenue, they are also a source of public relations problems for the monopoly. Finns are among the largest consumers of gambling per capita in all of Europe.
Most of that expense is captured by Veikkaus slots. To decrease reliance on slots, Veikkaus estimates reducing slot machines from 18,500 to 10,500 by the end of the year.