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State gambling firm shuts most of Finland's slot machines and gaming arcades

Machines in regions in the acceleration or community transmission phase of the epidemic will be turned off by Saturday.

 Espoon Ison Omenan markettikerroksen peliautomaatit oli pois käytöstä 24. maaliskuuta.
Gaming machines were already closed earlier this year due to the pandemic. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland’s state-owned gaming company Veikkaus will close gaming arcades and slot machines in areas of the country that are in the acceleration or community transmission phase of the epidemic. They will remain shut until at least mid-December, the firm said on Thursday.

The process of turning off the machines began immediately and was to be completed by Saturday at the latest.

Veikkaus said it made the decision in line with the latest guidelines from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM).

“We have been monitoring the development of the coronavirus situation and acting according to instructions from officials. We quickly made the closure decision today after the STM announcement,” Veikkaus Senior Vice President, Channels and Sales Jari Heino said in a statement.

2 districts in community transmission phase, 8 in acceleration phase

Earlier on Thursday, the STM said that the infection rate was “rising at alarming speed” in all hospital districts, particularly in the Helsinki region.

The Helsinki-Uusimaa and Päijät-Häme hospital district have entered the more dangerous community transmission phase of the epidemic.

Eight other hospital districts are in the intermediate acceleration phase: Kanta-Häme, Kymenlaakso, Länsi-Pohja, Pirkanmaa, North Ostrobothnia, Vaasa, Southwest Finland and the Åland Islands, as are a few other towns: Alajärvi, Soini, Kronoby, Joensuu, Rauma and Pori.

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