German supermarket chain Lidl intends to remove all slot machines from its stores in Finland. The retail chain was the first in the country to do this.

According to Finnish gambling law, the state agency Veikkaus is the only organization allowed to provide gambling services in the country. As a local gambling monopoly, the company owns and operates slot machines in retail outlets throughout Finland, including those owned by Lidl.

The retail giant said it plans to remove gaming devices from all of its Finnish stores over the coming summer. There are about 250 Veikkaus slot machines installed in Lidl stores.

Germany’s international network said its decision to remove the gaming devices was motivated by a desire to set a positive example for a company driven by responsible choices.

Lidl, Veikkaus

Commenting on the decision, Lidl Finland CEO Nicholas Pennanen said:

For us, responsibility means actions, not just words or slogans. There are problems with gambling and video slots in stores play a role here.

The executive director added:

It is up to each retailer to choose whether they want to host gaming devices or not, and evaluate their chances of abandoning them. As a large company, we can set an example and lead the way.

Lidl also noted that its decision to remove the hundreds of slot machines that are present in its stores across the country will result in a loss of millions of euros in revenue annually from Veikkaus’ fees.

However, Mr Pennanen said:

We had to train the staff to monitor the slot machines and prevent problems with them. I believe that the time and money spent doing this, and cleaning and maintaining devices, can be used to focus on initiatives that will improve the customer experience.

Following massive public outcry over Veikkaus’ responsible gambling policy, the company adopted a series of improvements to its responsible gambling policy last year. As part of these measures, the company has significantly reduced the number of slot machines in Finland. We wrote earlier at casinoz that at the beginning of 2020 the company had about 18,500 devices, but by 2021 there were only 10,500 of them left.

In addition, a mandatory identity check was introduced in the slot machine network two years ahead of schedule. According to the amended Finnish Lottery Law, mandatory identification of the identity of players on slot machines was to be introduced from 2023.

For the first time, Veikkaus implemented identity verification on slot machines located on third-party sites, including restaurants, shops and gas stations, on January 12. The company plans to complete the launch of mandatory verification on its slot machines by this summer.

Categories: Slot machine