Government likely to cover shortfall in Veikkaus funding for NGOs

Veikkaus has previously said that the removal of some slot machines will dent revenues and threaten funding programmes.

Veikkaus' revenues were also adversely affected by the coronavirus epidemic, which forced it to take slot machines offline during the spring. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

Government will likely agree during ongoing budget negotiations to fully cover any shortfall in NGO funding from state gambling monopoly Veikkaus, according to information obtained by Yle.

Last year Veikkaus announced that it would trim more than 3,000 slot machines from its network after public criticism of addictive games and questionable marketing campaigns. However the organisation said that the decision to scale back slot machine coverage could reduce annual revenues by 150-200 million euros.

At the time, it also estimated that a 100-million-euro fall in turnover would mean a decline of 35 million euros for NGOs working in the social and health care sector, for example.

Gambling monopoly's funding

Veikkaus is a significant source of funds for cultural, veterans’, youth, sporting and social and health care organisations. If government coalition partners agree to plug the funding gap, these organisations will not suffer funding cuts in 2021.

One source told Yle that supplementary allocations would top up funding "almost fully", while another said that organisations could expect "full funding". If coalition partners reach consensus on the measure the state will have to find 300 million euros for the purpose.

Government reportedly plans to offset Veikkaus’ income losses, largely by waiving lottery tax income. It will ultimately have to take on more debt to cobble together the sum required to support third sector organisations.

Apart from Veikkaus’ decision to remove thousands of slot machines, incomes also suffered because all of the machines in its network were taken offline during the spring because of the coronavirus crisis.