Taxes, gambling and the coronavirus crisis in the Czech Republic – how are they related?

The coronavirus crisis has brought changes in the behaviour of gambling consumers, a logical increase in online gambling in particular. This fact presents new challenges, but also new solutions. In connection with the impact of the emergency measures, politicians are looking for ways to reduce the large budget deficit. However, the proposals for changes in the taxation of gambling are not substantiated by any analysis of potential impact. Instead of the alarming numbers of pathological gamblers, they only address fiscal consequences.

The Think Tank for Rational Addiction Policies will present a study that specifies comparative risk of individual types of gambling and offers a comprehensive view of the effects of gambling today. Differentiated regulation of gambling should then take into account the need for prevention and therapy and find a mechanism, for example, for tax assignments to these areas.

“A large percentage of European lotteries are run by non-profit organizations to finance their activities,” says Jindřich Vobořil, former national anti-drug coordinator, founder of the Think Tank for Rational Addiction Policies and an addiction expert. “When it comes to prevention and treatment of addictions, some countries logically use taxes from the ‘addictive industry’ to finance them.”

Member of Parliament Jan Bartošek, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL Parliamentary Club, adds: “The Gambling Act aimed to regulate the types of gambling available on the market so that the risks associated with them could be addressed at the same time. According to experts, the addictive behaviour of one pathological player will negatively affect up to eight people from his immediate social circle. Nevertheless, we have not been able to enforce a ban on gambling for alimony defaulters, who can now spend their money on some types of gambling. On the one hand, we are now dealing with the desperate financial situation of single mothers, but at the same time, we are not addressing the issue of the gambling alimony defaulters. “

“To determine an effective gambling policy, it is necessary not only to closely monitor market data such as the number of establishments and gamblers but also other economic factors. And adopt systemic solutions, such as transparent assessments of the local impacts of the granted gambling license, ”says Aleš Rod, director of the Center for Economic and Market Analysis and adds

an example: “The COVID pandemic is a stressor that could increase addictive behaviour in vulnerable people. The projected rise in unemployment will increase the number of potential gamblers. The new tax package, in turn, will reduce municipal revenues, thus increasing the pressure to perceive gambling revenues as a potential substitute for fiscal funds – Chomutov is the first example of a town reintroducing formerly closed gambling establishments.”

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