JOCURILE ELECTORALE

Electoral games and games of chance

By Teodora Luca and Loredana Marlen Dumitru, C.A. Luca Mihai Catalin

Given the electoral context, more and more voices in the political field have used the opportunity to show concern for the people and involvement in fighting the epidemic, launching unfair accusations against gambling organizers, once again turned into a pariah of contemporary society.
We use this opportunity to convey to all political vectors, regardless of their position on the political ladder, some legal arguments for the nuance of publicly expressed positions, as well as a message urging solidarity and empathy, while reiterating the obligation to respect constitutional rights and legitimate interests of all economic agents.
Contrary to the allegations that have been made in the public space, the organizers of traditional gambling, which are at the forefront of the business affected by the measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, have not been specifically established for their benefit or taxes exempt.
On the contrary, the authorities were initially reluctant and, in some cases, even reluctant to apply the support measures established by the Government for the entire business environment, whether they consisted in the legal extension of licenses and authorizations or with regard to payment obligations, although there was no doubt that they were equally addressed to all industries.
It is, however, welcome that, in the end, the industry’s efforts have had the expected result, and the intervention of the courts, which always involves a consumption of time and resources, has not been necessary in these situations. We remain, however, puzzled by the doubts of some of the authorities that the organizers of gambling could benefit from some support measures, so necessary during this period.
Each of the measures taken was accompanied by mutual accusations of supporting obscure interests on the part of the main political parties campaigning for the local elections, and then for the parliamentary elections.
Although we understand that they must be interpreted in an electoral note, which, in the opinion of most, means that they have no consequences or meanings (because, don’t we expect any party to even try to fulfill the electoral promises?), our opinion is that such messages contribute in a significant and unfair way to eroding the image of the industry.

Loredana Marlen DUMITRU

The last series of electoral attacks took place only a few days ago, after the adoption of the Law on the approval of the Emergency Ordinance no. 106 of June 25, 2020, by which the Parliament validated, among others, the provisions of art. IV of GEO 106/2020 according to which: The fees related to the gambling exploitation authorizations provided in the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 77/2009 on the organization and operation of gambling, are not due by operators who operate traditional gambling during the alert state.
Immediately after the approval of the Law, statements appeared from the highest level of public administration, accusing the opposition parliamentarians that, instead of worrying about the fate of Romanians and fighting the epidemic, it defends the interests of game organizers. An equally biased statement was issued on the occasion of the adoption of the Ordinance, at which time the opposition party made the same type of accusations against the Government.
It seems that political players have aligned their strategy and hit the gambling industry alike, but these statements have no legal support.
The business environment as a whole suffers as a result of the restrictions / prohibitions imposed by the need to combat the spread of Covid-19, and in the field of traditional gambling, in almost all localities in the country, the activity is suspended due to exceeding the infection rate. of 3/1000 inhabitants, in which the activity is still allowed, being restricted to only 30% of the maximum capacity of the space.
The conclusion that can be easily deduced from the above is that traditional gambling operators, for reasons not attributable to them, cannot carry out activity for which they are authorized and for which they pay fees.
In that case, it would be unjustified to maintain the obligation to pay the authorization fees if, in return, they do not receive consideration – that is to say, the actual possibility of carrying out the activity for which the fees are paid – for the period during which the activity is suspended.
In the same sense, the Constitutional Court of Romania states, which several times in its practice noted that: “one of the characteristics of the tax is that the person who pays the monetary contribution as a tax benefits from the provision of a service in the case of taxes, the benefit is direct, so that the taxpayer will immediately enjoy the payment made, receiving the requested service (see in this regard Decision No 448 of 29 October 2013); “in accordance with general principles of taxation, any tax imposed on natural or legal persons must be followed by a service or work carried out directly and immediately by public bodies or institutions “(see in this regard Decision No 176 of 6 May 2003).

teodora luca

Therefore, the approval by the Parliament of GEO 106/2020, as it results from the above, was not established a right in favor of gambling organizers, but ensured the avoidance of a situation with the potential to generate a violation constitutional norms.
On the other hand, it seems important to emphasize once again that the activity of gambling is regulated in a very strict manner, closely monitored by state institutions and with a high degree of compliance.
Like other areas severely affected in the context of the epidemic, the lack of stability and predictability has seriously affected the organizers of gambling, again in a position to identify new solutions for business survival.
It is difficult to understand, even in the electoral context, the marginalization of these economic operators of activities and activity as a whole and the adoption of such careless attitudes towards the rights of entities operating in a regulated framework.
Moreover, minimizing the importance of the contribution of gambling operators to the state economy, doubled by the demonization of this field of activity, are all the more difficult to accept by when they are launched even by the authorities.
We end with a call for responsibility, solidarity and empathy, reminding everyone that an affected sector of activity, whatever it is, means thousands of people losing their jobs, hundreds of businesses on the verge of collapse, an economy that has her turn suffers. And all this can only be avoided by acting together responsibly.

Electoral games and games of chance
By Teodora Luca and Loredana Marlen Dumitru, C.A. Luca Mihai Catalin