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Gambling firm Veikkaus to establish ethics board following ad controversy

A new metric will help to follow the adverse effects of gambling.

Veikkauksen lippu liehuu salossa.
Finland's gambling monopoly is responding to public pressure. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

Finnish gambling monopoly Veikkaus ruled on Tuesday that it would establish an internal ethics council.

Administrators were tasked with preparing a road map for the effort by the state-owned company's next board meeting.

Veikkaus also updated its guidelines to include a so-called responsibility metric in their reward system designed to track addictive behaviour.

"Responsible values are integral to all of Veikkaus' services," said chair Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in a release. "We have been steadily evaluating the emergence of problematic gambling trends."

The decisions follow public backlash to a Veikkaus radio ad that appeared to encourage frequent gamblers to indulge the habit. Finnish NGOs have also called for Veikkaus to involve health care professionals in their operations to mitigate gambling addiction.

The gambling agency's ethics committee was disbanded in early 2017 when Veikkaus fused with Finland's other large betting companies, the Slot Machine Association (Ray) and Fintoto.

Veikkaus board member and veteran politician Ilkka Kanerva said that the agency relies on the principles of responsibility and the conscientious use of company profits.

"Veikkaus is state-owned, and we respect the will of our proprietor," he said.

Veikkaus had no further comment to offer on the coming changes.

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