The practice of gambling in 2020
Summary of the measures adopted, for the period of emergency and alert, applicable to traditional gambling in Romania
I. Restrictive measures taken
A) State of emergency
Starting from the constitutional provision according to which the exercise of certain rights or freedoms can be restricted only by law and only if it is required for the defense of public health.
Provided that the measure is proportionate to the situation which determined it and applied in a non-discriminatory manner but also without prejudice to the existence of a right or freedom.
To limit SARS-CoV-2 corona-virus infection in the population, with a particularly serious impact, a number of restrictive measures have been taken in the activity of gambling.
Thus, Decree 195 of 2020, starting with March 16, establishes the state of emergency and among the emergency measures, with gradual application, are also those regarding the temporary closure of restaurants, hotels, cafes, clubs, casinos, offices of associations and other public places, for a period of 30 days. Subsequently, by Decree 240 of 2020, the state of emergency is extended by another 30 days, including the stated restrictive measures.
For the implementation of the provisions regarding the state of emergency, the Military Ordinance, no. 1 of March 17, which stipulates that starting with March 19, 2020, for the period of emergency, all gambling activities, held indoors, shall be suspended.
B) Alert status
From May 15, 2020, the state of alert is established in Romania, by GD 24, for a period of three days and subsequently it is ad-opted, based on Law no. 55 of 15 May 2020, GD 394 of 2020, which establishes the state of alert for a period of 30 days, both normative acts still maintaining the activity of economic operators carrying out gambling activities in closed spaces.
II. Support measures
A) In the field of social protection
The government has adopted several normative acts in the field of social protection, of which those with a major impact on the activity of traditional gambling are GEO 30 and GEO 92, which provide, among others:
1. During the state of emergency or alert, for the period of temporary suspension of the individual employment contract, at the initiative of the employer, as a result of the effects produced by coronavirus, the allowances benefiting employees are set at 75% of the basic salary corresponding to the job employed and supported from the unemployment insurance budget, but not more than 75% of the average gross earnings provided by the Law on the state social insurance budget for 2020, respectively 5,429 lei;
2. From June 1, 2020, employers whose employees have benefited from technical unemployment during a state of emergency or alert shall, for a period of three months, benefit from the reimbursement of part of their salary, borne by the unemployment insurance budget, representing 41.5% of the gross basic salary corresponding to the employed job, but not more than 41.5% of the average gross salary provided by the Law on the state social insurance budget for 2020, respectively 5,429 lei.
Employers have the obligation to maintain employment until December 31, 2020, except for seasonal workers.
The provisions apply only to persons who have had a period of suspension of the individual employment contract of at least 15 days during the state of emergency or alert;
3. Employers who, from 1 June 2020 to 31 December 2020, employ, for an indefinite period, full-time, persons over the age of 50 whose employment has ceased for reasons not attributable to them, during the state of emergency or the state of alert, registered as unemployed in the records of the county employment agencies, respectively of the Bucharest municipality, receive monthly, for a period of 12 months, for each person employed in this category, 50% of the employee’s salary, but not more than 2,500 lei.
Employers who are employed, but not later than December 31, 2020, for an indefinite period, full-time, persons aged between 16 and 29 registered as unemployed in the records of the county employment agencies, respectively of Bucharest municipality receive monthly, for a period of 12 months, for each person employed in this category, 50% of the employee’s salary, but not more than 2,500 lei.
Employers have the obligation to maintain employment for a period of at least 12 months from the end of the 12-month period for which they received these benefits.
B) In the economic and fiscal field
1. Gambling-specific measures
By GEO 48 of 2020:
✔ Gambling licenses which expire during the state of emergency shall be extended by 90 days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency. Operators in the field who wish to continue the activity can make requests for the reauthorization of the activity no later than 90 days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency;
✔ Authorizations to operate gambling that expire during the state of emergency shall be extended by 90 days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency. Operators wishing to continue operating may apply for re-authorization of the activity no later than 90 days after the cessation of the state of emergency;
✔ During the state of emergency, payment obligations related to traditional gambling opera-ting authorizations shall be suspended;
✔ For the activities of traditional gambling, the sanctions provided in the O.U.G. no. 77/2009 and the methodological norms regarding the non-payment of the fees related to the gambling exploitation authorizations, if the payment of the fees is made within 30 working days from the cessation of the state of emergency;
✔ Operators carrying out traditional gambling activities shall not be subject to any fees relating to their operating licenses for the entire period of the emergency.
2. General measures
✔ For overdue tax obligations, from 21 March 2020 and unpaid until 25 June 2020, interest and late payment penalties shall not be calculated or due;
✔ Fiscal facilities provided in GEO 29 of 2020;
✔ Bonuses for the payment of budgetary obligations cf. GEO 33 of 2020;
✔ The program for supporting small and medium enterprises – IMM INVEST ROMANIA, as well as for approving the state aid scheme to support the activity of SMEs in the context of the economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic established by GEO 42 of 2020;
✔ Fiscal facilities and extensions of deadlines granted and established by GEO 69 of 2020;
✔ Facilities for rent payment for the period related to the state of emergency, provided in Law 62 of 2020;
✔ Establishment of fiscal facilities and restructuring of budgetary obligations granted and established by GEO 90 of 2020.
We return with other opinions, in the next issue of the magazine…