Gambling tax receipts down one third in February, likely to fall further

Gambling in action (picture is illustrative).
Gambling in action (picture is illustrative). Source: Michał Parzuchowski/Unsplash

Restrictions in place due to the spread of coronavirus are having a significant impact on gambling tax receipts, to the extent they are paralyzing activities of activities, including those related to social welfare, financed by the tax and under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the ministry says.

"The fall in gambling tax receipts will undoubtedly put great pressure on the ministry to finance agreed projects," Rait Kuuse, deputy secretary general for social policy at the social affairs ministry said, according to BNS.

"Our goal, in cooperation with our partners, is to find an opportunity to continue the agreed activities and, if necessary, to make new decisions together in certain places, if, for example, the implementation of what was agreed proves impossible due to the implemented restrictions, Kuuse continued.

"We have asked all partners to review the activities planned for this year and to reevaluate which activities it is reasonable to realize in view of the emergency situation and whether anything can be postponed."

Application rounds for small projects currently financed via the gambling tax and which would be difficult to implement as a result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying emergency situation have been suspended, BNS reports.

Gambling tax receipts in February had already fallen by one third; a larger fall is expected through the spring months.

Payments for the second quarter of 2020 took place in April, according to the agreed payment schedule, and we are working to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis," Rait Kruuse said.

"As a result it is important for us to decide how to proceed, to negotiate openly with our partners, and to provide adequate information about the situation. In doing so, we are considering all ways to ensure sustainable funding for partners to carry out the necessary activities," he added.

Projects under the aegis of the culture ministry, the finance ministry and the education ministry have also been affected by the drop in gambling tax revenue.

The social affairs ministry had to deny claims made by an umbrella disabled organization on Saturday, to the effect that it had planned to cut back on funding to organizations representing people with disabilities.

Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) said that support for the disabled and their representative groups would be the last area cuts would be made.

The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) says that gambling tax receipts were distributed with 45 percent of the tax coming from lotteries, 34 percent from slot machines, 5 percent from casino gaming tables, 4 percent from toto (a type of lottery-ed,) and 10 percent from online and other remote gambling.

One percent of gambling tax was collected from tournaments involving games of chance, BNS reports.

The causes of the drop in gaming and to what extent they were the result of the pandemic and its economic effects were not reported.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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