The merger of Finnish betting and gaming firms RAY, Veikkaus and Fintoto is now underway, with the first elements of the new brand due to launch at the beginning of 2017.
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n September 17, 2015, Finland’s Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy approved the high-profile merger of the country’s three gambling operators, Fintoto Oy, Veikkaus Oy and Rahaautomaattiyhdistys (RAY).
Following a lengthy consultation process, the board of FRV Evo Oy – a temporary, state-owned company created to manage the integration – announced in June that Finland’s new gambling monopoly will operate under the Veikkaus brand.
According to FRV, the new shared name was decided on the basis of an extensive, multi-stage consumer survey. The company will be provided with a completely new brand and visual image, the first elements of which will be rolled out at the beginning of 2017.
The aim of the merger is to strengthen the Finnish gambling monopoly by establishing a single, wholly state-owned company to operate gambling in the country.
Veikkaus Oy is the Finnish national lottery. The state-owned company has an exclusive legal betting license on lotteries and sports betting in Finland.
Fintoto Oy is wholly owned by Suomen Hippos Ry, the Finnish Trotting and Breeding Association, and is the only company authorised by the Lotteries Act to conduct horse betting activities in Finland. RAY, meanwhile, operates slot machines and casinostyle games in cafés, restaurants and standalone arcades. It also controls the country’s only fully-fledged casino property, Casino Helsinki.
Our common important goal is that Finns can relate to the name of the new gaming company and will accept it as widely as possible.
The new gaming company will start its operations on January 1, 2017, with a total of 1.9m Finnish customers, nearly 2,000 employees, and annual revenues of more than E1bn.
FRV Evo Oy’s board currently has four members: chairman Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Outi Henriksson, Hanna Sievinen, and Pekka Hurtola. The objective is to appoint the CEO of the new company over the coming weeks.
“Responsibility and reliability provide the basis for the new gaming company,” said Kallasvuo. “Together we can secure proceeds from successful business operations to the benefit and joy of all of us who live in Finland.
“Our common important goal is that Finns can relate to the name of the new gaming company and will accept it as widely as possible.”
Prior to the merger, the assets of the three gambling operators were placed in reserve for use by beneficiaries.
“We think that establishing a new gambling operator is a rational reform,” Veikkaus CEO Juha Koponen said in the wake of the merger announcement last year. “The decision to merge provides an explicit ground for ensuring the efficiency and competitiveness of the Finnish gambling system.
“When we merge, it is essential that we can continue to offer our customers Finnish games that are increasingly attractive, while improving our service. The new gambling operator and the reformed legislation should lead to improved customer experiences especially on the internet, which the current three-operator model has not actually been designed for.”