This is my first blog ever. I decided to follow my excellent co-workers Reijo Anttila and Sami Siltanen who started their blogs just 1 – 2 weeks ago. Both guys have already written great stories about gambling business. They have done that in Finnish and that’s why I decided to start my own blog mainly in English. English is not my native language which will mean that there might be some mistakes and for sure not so nuanced language as it would be in Finnish.
I think that it’s easy to start with the theme which I know better than anything else: ME – Jari V.! I believe that readers should know who I am? Everything I have done has not been huge success and there have been even some quite big failures but also great results too.
I have been involved in sports almost from my birth and gambling appeared to my life as a young kid. Those days no one talked about problem gambling… I used to play football and ice hockey and got my first racing horse (trotting) already at the age of 10 years. I guess that I was something like 5 years old when I made my first Football Pools bet and started Horse Betting at the age of 10 years. Ten years later when I went to the University I was almost professional gambler. During my studies I worked in some newspapers and wrote about sports but also worked in bank. I was planning to be banker as my father used to be but in autumn 1991 I noticed interesting position in Horse Betting company and managed to get it and started there in the beginning of 1992.
It would be too long story to tell all details what I have done during my years in Horse Betting company, Lottery company and Gambling company so here is the list of main projects where I have been the key person or have had at least important management role.
- Purchase of new central system (IT) for Horse Betting company
- The first national level Problem Gambling study in Finland
- Preparation of the new Gambling Law in Finland
- Planning of off track Horse Betting system –> nowadays it’s more than 90 % of total
- Introduce of new Sports Betting and Horse Betting games
- Launch of the first (lottery) Internet gambling business in the world – nowadays GGR (gross gaming revenue) is about 550 M€/year
- Development of Mobile gambling
- New Customer based business strategy and based on that customer database – nowadays there are more than 2 M customers
- Introduce Live Betting as the first (or second) lottery in Europe
- Establish of Product Development company together with IT company
- Internationalization plan and run operations (CEO of subsidiary company) based on that -> the biggest disappointment of my career due to political decision to stop this operation!
- Develop Innovation process for lottery company
- New Strategy for the company (included in scenario work etc.)
- Integration (merger) of three gambling companies: Fintoto (Horse Betting), RAY (Casino & slot machines) and Veikkaus (Lottery & Sports Betting) -> new Veikkaus: GGR 1,8 B€/year
- Establish common Innovation network with 5 other lotteries
- Establish common Product Development company with 3 other lotteries
- Lots of roles in international gambling organizations – nowadays the head of Sports Betting working group of European Lotteries