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Culture, sport and science sectors facing 15% funding shortfall due to Veikkaus losses

Covid's effect on state gambling coffers is expected to affect the funding of hobby groups, libraries and cultural organisations for years.

Yleiskuva Veikkauksen rahapelaamosta Feel Vegas Sellosta.
Image: Nella Nuora / Yle

The Ministry of Education and Culture announced on Tuesday that there will be funding cuts for the arts, culture, science and sport sectors in its 2022 budget, due to declining revenue from state gambling monopoly Veikkaus.

This year the state fully compensated the dwindling gambling revenues, but next year such losses will no longer be fully covered, a situation which will force groups and organisations to find other funding alternatives.

Next year the ministry will see a reduction of around 43 million euros in Veikkaus funding.

For decades, Veikkaus has been a significant source of funds for cultural, veterans', youth, sporting and social and health care organisations. However, the state-owned firm has recently seen heavy losses due to the coronavirus crisis.

Among other problems, the firm shut down nearly all of its gambling arcades and fruit machines — which are commonly seen in grocery stores, petrol stations and bars — for months in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Next year's anticipated shortfall means that arts, culture, sport, science and youth organisations will increasingly need to look elsewhere for funding or look for ways to save money.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) acknowledged that the funding drop was a difficult issue for many groups during the Covid era.

"The five [party chairs in the coalition government] will look at the funding of organisations during the autumn's budget process and look for a solution," Marin tweeted.

Shortfalls to affect many

Veikkaus' losses will cause a roughly 15 percent shortfall for most groups within the culture and arts sector next year. Similar-sized funding holes will be seen by translation and literature publication groups as well as grants issued to museum and heritage organisations.

Meanwhile, libraries will see around six percent less support from Veikkaus and funding for movie production, scriptwriting and promotion are set to drop by eight percent.

Cultural publications will see Veikkaus funding decline by nine percent.

The funding for libraries' purchase of low-circulation publications will disappear, meaning that the availability of such content will decline.

National youth groups will see Veikkaus funding decline by four percent, or a total of around 700,000 euros — around the same amount to be lost by local hobby organisations.

Support for sports associations will decrease by nearly 12 million euros next year, with the largest cuts to affect sport facility construction.

Science funding

Veikkaus-sourced funding for science and research is set to decrease by 8.3 million euros, while the Heureka science centre in Vantaa will see a seven percent reduction in such funding.

Gambling funds will decrease by five percent for political think tank groups.

The government has previously said that the state's compensation for Veikkaus' proceeds will progressively decrease in coming years. This year the state paid for the shortfall nearly entirely, while next year the proportion will be around 80 percent, or about 330 million euros.

In 2023 the state is scheduled to compensate about 306 million euros.

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