We are writing this article to challenge you to a debate. We have a simple and straightforward question: why, if you follow the rules, pay taxes and have tens of thousands of employees, you are blamed everywhere in the media and among the public, and those who do the opposite are not bothered by anyone? And one more essential question remains unanswered: how come you don’t react?, why don’t you reply to the accusations?, why don’t you join public debates on this topic?, in other words, why do you never fight back?
Public opinion can be persuaded, but we must act accordingly
We are writing this article just to emphasize How poor the gambling industry PR is within general public! We already know the politicians opinion… but be careful! The politicians’ point of view is closely correlated with the opinion of their constituents. It’s simple and clear. When people will have a better opinion about gambling industry, politicians will also change their attitude (forgetting all the old statements and opinions) and show us more respect. So we have to act accordingly, we all have to do the grunt work and convince those around us that what we do is entertainment. That it’s legal and many taxes are paid in advance, unlike other activity sectors, as you will see in this article.
Why is video chat less blamed by society, as opposed to gambling?
“Romania is one of the world leaders on the video chat market. Both in terms of number of studios, and in revenues. An industry that registers revenues of 100 million euros is also very profitable for the Romanian state, which, however, does not intend to regulate this field. Thus, there is still no video chat model job in the professional nomenclature. So the girls are hired as models, like the ones on the catwalks”, shows an article published on libertatea.ro on January 9, 2020.
A business of over 10 billion dollars worldwide has a large part of its employees in Romania. The problem is the Romanian state does not want to regulate an industry that produces revenues of over 100 million dollars annually and has over 100,000 employees (mostly female). Students, lawyers, former teachers or pharmacists end up performing a job that is not included in the professional nomenclature and they get to carry out an activity that is not properly taxed (according to the income collected and declared by them – both companies and employees). For example, did you know that there are people who work in video chat and earn over $100,000 a year!? Did you know that the rate applied for people outside the country is $9 per minute!? (source digi24.ro)
“One hundred thousand Romanians are models in video chat studios. Some just talk, others do big time erotic shows. In this category we find single parents, but also married people. They forget about modesty when they find out that they can earn up to tens of thousands of dollars a month”, as mentioned in an article published on August 2, 2018 on digi24.ro.”
In order to avoid unnecessary discussions, we do not blame anyone. Everyone has the right to work in what field he likes and under whatever circumstances he wants, carrying out an activity that offers them satisfaction on all levels, including the financial one. We want to draw attention to the biased attitudes of the authorities and politicians when comparing two economic activities, both in the entertainment area, and the lack of respect they show us. “Go to church, but avoid gambling.” You definitely remember the measures taken when the gambling industry reopened after June 15 and you can compare with their attitude regarding the video chat…The gambling industry has tens of thousands of employees for whom CAS and CASS payroll and other taxes are paid. Domain-specific fees are paid for 3 months in advance!, without even knowing if we will recover them or not. We annually pay taxes and fees in amount of tens, hundreds of millions of euros, but we are still hated and scorned! Why? What’s the problem? What a bad country we live in! Why do politicians support some and hinder others? We are closed after 11 pm because we are considered covid-19 outbreak-prone activity, yet, as per the operator’s declarations, not a single fine was issued, although the authorities carried out more than 1,000 checks with regard to the compliance of the coronavirus prevention measures! Why? Because we follow the rules, we are responsible!
But we still wonder: why don’t we react? why do we indulge ourselves in this situation?, why don’t we take action? How long do you think we will tolerate this situation? The public sees the lack of reaction as an admission of guilt: “Maybe they did something … maybe they feel guilty about something…”, otherwise they would somehow react, right? why shouldn’t they? ”… These are the opinions of the people we spoke to, directly, without becoming experts in sociology. Something is not right here…
The Romanian state does not want to tax the manele singers
Why doesn’t the Romanian State manage to tax the manele singers despite their wealth? “Because they don’t want to”, explained Gabriel Biriș, the former Finance State Secretary, during În fața ta (In front of you) show broadcasted on Digi 24 in the fall of 2017. We quoted from an article written on October 8th, 2017, for republica.ro, by Loredana Voiculescu, where we also learned that “Asked if it is possible to tax the manele singers in Romania, the tax consultant said: “You need to have the will to do such things (Why didn’t the Romanian politicians want to?) In order to understand why they don’t want to, take a look at the way people vote. It’s very simple to act if you really want to”, added the former Finance State Secretary.”
Then, how can you not be frustrated? You instantly get angry when you see their attitude towards you – i.e. the gambling industry, with its positive and negative aspects, but in recent years with many achievements such as: ONJN, the Romanian National Gambling Office, an institution established 5 years ago which helps the Romanian State to better regulate and monitor our industry, over 65,000 slot machines connected to the Ministry of Finance’s servers and controlled by a so called casino management system that allows the Romanian state, at any time, to find out what game is being played, where it is played and what fees it is going to collect (that’s an advantage, right?), the online (remote) gambling industry has been successfully regulated, an industry from which the state has collected colossal amounts of money, (that’s another advantage, right?), gambling operators have implemented the Responsible Gaming Program throughout the industry while the Responsible Gaming Association has been set up, assisting people who may not know how to differentiate between having fun and gambling excessively (also an advantage). On March 9th, 2020, Sorin Constantinescu, former adviser to the Prime Minister on gambling issues, declared exclusively for casinoinside.ro that: “Gambling brings about 1.2 billion euros to the annual budget in form of direct and indirect taxes!”(one more advantage, right?)
And then, I come back to our rhetorical question: What happens? Why others see us wrong? Is it just a matter of lack of concern and skill, laziness to understand, interests, lack of education, communist preconceptions (that gamblers should be marginalized)?. You will tell us that they don’t care, that it’s just a media show and we are the actors, that we have to endure, that we better not bother, we better bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich, maybe it will pass…
IT WILL NOT PASS! THE SITUATION WILL GET FROM BAD TO WORSE! And we may realize this too late.
Let’s give up once and for all this unfavorable strategy of “just a victim”, or soon we’ll be forced to cease the activity and, probably, operate in the basement, when all our 10 years efforts will prove in vain, people will no longer have a job, companies will go out of business and the Romanian state will have nothing to collect. Instead, it will have to fight and face all the consequences experienced by those who have closed the casino operations in other countries around the world: casino floors opened in underground (or in the basement, if you prefer this form), undeclared work and slot machines, absence of duties, crime, evasion and money laundering at unprecedented levels.
THIS IS WHAT YOU REALLY WANT? DEAR PEOPLE AND POLITICIANS …