Finland’s newly consolidated gambling monopoly is blaming a paucity of major lottery jackpots for its falling sales.
The new Veikkaus, which began life at the start of the year after the merger of Finland’s three previously separate state-owned gambling monopolies, reported sales of just over €2.1b in the first half of 2017.
The sales figures marks a decline of 0.5% from what the Veikkaus (lotteries and betting), Ray (slot machines and Fintoto (horseracing) divisions generated on their own in the same period last year. Profit fared even worse, falling 3.3% to €665.7m.
Regardless, Veikkaus CEO Olli Sarekoski hailed the operator passing the 2m milestone of registered customers, which Sarekoski claimed represented two-thirds of Finland’s adult gamblers.
The H1 decline was largely blamed on lottery sales, which fell 8.2% to €764m due to smaller jackpots in both Eurojackpot and Vikinglotto draws.
The Slot Machine and Instant Games division – which includes both land-based and online versions of slots, instant lottery games and bingo – saw its sales rise 4.2% to €801.6m.
The Skill Games division, which encompasses land-based and online sports betting and casino table games, saw sales rise 5.2% to €541.5m. Fixed-odds games were up 16% while Football Pools turnover improved 11.1%.
Veikkaus’ revamped online site didn’t launch until April, but has already garnered an average of 550k players per week. Work is underway to combine online users’ currently distinct Game Accounts and Casino Accounts to enable a more seamless online experience.
Veikkaus will also begin rolling out a new customer loyalty program in October, which includes a new chip-based Veikkaus card, that the company expects to complete by the end of the year.
Finland’s gaming monopoly began sharing online poker liquidity with Austria’s Win2Day in March via Playtech’s iPoker network, marking the first time two European jurisdictions had engaged in such cross-border activity. Sadly, Veikkaus offered no comparatives to indicate what effect this deal has had on its online poker revenue.