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Three betting companies to merge, top spot up for grabs

The process of merging the betting firms Veikkaus, RAY and Fintoto will begin in the next few weeks. The dividends involved in heading up a company that large has many itching for a go at CEO.

Image: Ilkka Kemppinen / Yle

The betting and gambling companies Veikkaus, Raha-automaattiyhdistys (RAY, actually an association) and Fintoto will be merging together into a megacompany over the coming weeks. With many layoffs expected following the merger only a third of the current top brass in all three concerns would be guaranteed a job in the resulting business.

The proposed company will need a CEO, and behind the scenes several betting bosses are already revving to go. For instance, Veikkaus chief Juha Koponen earned some 450,000 euros last year, and those figures will be unlikely to shrink in the new 3-in1 company.

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The Swedish betting house Nordicbet has, ironically, started a wager on who will prevail and head Finland's gambling monopoly. Koponen from Veikkaus is the head runner with odds of 1.3:1, and RAY head Velipekka Nummikoski is next with 2.5:1 followed by Fintoto CEO Pertti Koskenniemi at 8:1.

The odds are based on the assmptions that the best leaders in the business can be found in the companies themselves and that the largest of the companies has done the best.

Koponen's chances are high because his image is that of a business leader rather than a politician, which RAY frontman Nummikoski does represent for many.

But monopoly insiders say that no illicit talks on CEO choices have been held and that an outside dark horse may also swipe the nomination. No further public speculations have been made.

A new gambling leader will also be sought out via open application. The current leaders reportedly will have no privileges in terms of nomination.

The official release says that the three betting companies are being merged in order to strengthen the Finnish betting monopoly. The EU backs a monopoly, citing an anti-gambling problem agenda.

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