Finland to Enforce Mandatory ID Verification Rules on Slot Games
- Identity & age verification to become mandatory before people in Finland can play land based slots.
- New rules effective starting January 12, 2021.
- Online slots at offshore sites remains unaffected for now.
Veikkaus, Finland’s state owned watchdog, has announced new gambling rules to be effected starting Tuesday, January 12, 2021. In the new rules, anyone who wishes to play slot games at third party venues will be required to identify themselves first before being allowed to do so. The watchdog has introduced these rules as part of its obligation of enforcing player protection through responsible gambling.
Third-party venues, in this case, include non-gambling locations such as restaurants, petrol stations, stores, and kiosks. To access games at these venues, players will need to download and install a mobile application on their devices.
Alternatively, they can use a Veikkaus virtual player card or a banking card that is connected to the operator’s customer database. They can then use these tools to verify their identities before getting the green light to access the slot machines.
The Finnish gambling regulator believes that this strategy will ensure that minors do not access slot games. In addition, authorised players will be able to control their gambling spending, hence protecting themselves from addiction.
Under the country’s amended Lotteries Act, the compulsory ID verification on slot games was meant to be implemented in 2023. However, in line with its mission of strengthening safe gambling, Veikkaus changed its plans and decided to introduce the rules earlier.
New gambling rules are projected to reduce player losses by about €300m
The sales director at Veikkaus, Jari Heino, is aware that these strict regulations will not go down well with players. However, he affirms that players will benefit from them in the long run as their losses will reduce by about €300 million.
Veikkaus is the only gambling regulator and also the only government-sponsored operator in Finland. Therefore, it makes sense for it to be the one rolling out and enforcing these gambling regulations.
Finnish gambling market becomes more stringent than before
Finland has enacted a number of strict gambling regulations in previous years that were designed to provide better protection for players. The identification rules for slot games was initially tested in some areas of the country in October 2020. Following the success of the pilot phase, more test locations were added into the list in November.
Veikkaus was satisfied with this trial program and decided to implement the regulations fully by January 2021. This was necessitated by the surge in online gambling activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning this summer, Veikkaus gaming arcades and other gambling venues will also start enforcing the identity verification rules. New loss limits will also be placed on slot machines, rules which are already in place for certain casino games in the country.
At the moment, Veikkaus has about 10,000 slot machines all over Finland through the network distribution of its partners. However, the operator has been reducing this number over the past couple of years because of gambling concerns. In fact, many of the operator’s slot machines won’t be available on 12th January due to COVID-19 restrictions.