Committed to addressing illegal gambling and related criminal activities while minimising any potential harm on society, EL has developed a Standard that aims to promote the adoption of best practices across the EL membership: the EL Responsible Gaming Certification.
During this interview with Ms Susanna Saikkonen, VP, Sustainability at Veikkaus Oy, we hear all about being Responsible Gaming certified for the fifth time. Congratulations!
Your lottery was certified for the fifth time during a global pandemic. How did the process differ from previous certifications? Did everything take place online? What are the biggest lessons learnt from such an experience?
The time of the pandemic has taught us a new way of working remotely, and during the certification process, which was carried out for the fifth time, we did everything online. This was a valuable lesson to us, proving that the certification can be done successfully and in a cost-efficient way like this, too.
Gathering evidence online was, in fact, easier in many ways, as all the data were stored digitally directly in one and the same database. We concentrated all the interviews on a couple of days, and the interviewees thought the process went smoothly.
Could you tell us about your progress since the first certification? What has changed and how did you grow and learn in the past 12 years?
The new Veikkaus was born as the previous three Finnish gaming organisations merged in 2017. This meant a significant broadening of our game portfolio and, of course, major changes to the certification. The promotion of responsible gaming is a key priority in the strategy of the new company.
During these past 12 years, the certification process has become more and more familiar within the company, as we have gone through it several times. The feedback we have received has helped us identify the areas that need to be developed in our internal processes.
Reaching the fifth certification is a huge achievement. Did you set yourself specific goals this time and did you reach your expected results?
Veikkaus has invested strongly in the advancement of responsible gaming over the past years. We were confident that this would be reflected on the results, and that was exactly what happened. The updated responsibility standard encouraged us to work even harder, as the demands had grown stricter since the last certification.
What was the most difficult part of the fifth certification and how did you overcome it?
As a result of the pandemic, the process was different from the previous ones, and the updated standard required us to approach many issues in a new way. We learned a lot during this fifth certification process.
What was the added value for your lottery in being certified for a fifth time? For example, how does it influence your daily business - retail outlets, product development, relation with stakeholders?
For us, it was very important to obtain a certification by a third party and thereby gain validation and feedback on the major investments in sustainability we have been making recently. We are proud of the EL certificate and the result we reached. In our view, the process was extremely valuable from the perspective of internal development. We are truly happy that we have the privilege to be one of the first certified operators, the forerunners.
What advice do you have to EL Members who are about to start their fifth certification?
We would like to encourage all the Member companies of EL to boldly use the updated standard, to develop their operations as widely as possible.
What tips do you have for non-certified EL Members who are completely new to the whole process?
The process will give your company a lot, and the feedback will help you review your idea of whether the direction you have chosen is the right one. The process requires a lot of work and orientation, but it is definitely not impossible for any company. It is worthwhile to make use of the backup programme offered by the EL, a good tool and an aid in the process.