The first good news for the gambling industry in times of Covid-19 pandemic

The measures taken by the authorities in order to limit the SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak have dramatically affected the land-based gambling sector in Romania. A first set of measures to support the operators has been adopted by the Government, but it is foreshadowed the need to initiate a second one
The crisis caused by the spread of the new type of coronavirus represents a major test of resistance and adaptability for the land-based gambling sector, but we believe that if the industry can demonstrate that it is comprised of responsible companies, then it can get out of this crisis stronger. Meanwhile, the industry still needs state support in order to maintain the industry at its parameters.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the professional associations have already headed for the National Office for Gambling, as well as to the Ministry of Public Finance, but also to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection through the General Union of Industrialists in Romania (UGIR). Romanian Bookmakers is a member of UGIR, a confederation which assured us it will support the promotion of the measures and solutions we identify as necessary for operators.
The good news is that the industry’s proposals were analyzed by the Government and during the April 9th Government meeting, an Emergency Ordinance which provides financial and fiscal measures for the land-based gambling organizers was adopted. Summarizing, the normative act, for which we are expecting to be published in the Official Gazette of Romania contains:
– The licenses and authorizations that expire during the state of emergency are extended by 90 days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency. Operators wishing to continue their activity can submit requests for re-authorisation within 90 day from the date of cessation of the state of emergency.
– During the state of emergency, the payments obligations related to land-based gambling authorisations are suspended. The sanctions provided in GEO 77/2009 regarding the non-payment of the fees will not be applied if they will be performed within 30 working days from the date of cessations of the emergency.
– During the entire period of emergency, land-based gambling organizers do not owe authorisation taxes.
Although these measures are logical and aim to preserve a state of normality, considering that the licenses and authorizations are issued for gambling organization and operation and during this period they are restricted, we appreciate the involvement of the National Office for Gambling in obtaining these vital measures for the industry. It is an important step but, depending on the duration of the emergency, some other measures will certainly be needed in order to avoid a massive contraction leading to a consistent reduction in the number of employees and contributions to the state budget. The industry is currently carrying out an analysis of the negative impact on land-based organizers for a correct and balanced new set of measures to support this economic sector.

The future may well depend on the industry
Of course, the resources of the state budget are affected and diminished and all the requests of the economic agents are unlikely to be fulfilled. The state will not be able to support them all, especially if they are not based on an economical reality. On the other hand, before the Covid-19 outbreak, the authorities were planning to revise the gambling legislation. The current state of emergency will certainly reset these objectives for taking into account that the industry will be in a process of recovery for a long time.
We believe that, during this period, it remains important to make sure that the Executive is aware of the negative consequences of the prolonged closure of this economic sector and the fact that the industry has already allocated consistent resources, and will continue to do so, for resuming its activity in good conditions, alongside with its trained and professionalized employees and for fully returning to the status of real and important part of the Romanian economic field.

The first good news for the gambling industry in times of Covid-19 pandemic