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The plans of ROMSLOT, the strongest professional organization, in 2022
Sorin Georgescu, president of ROMSLOT: “It is time for the industry to make its voice heard. It doesn’t matter just what happens today, we need to build tomorrow’s image of gambling.”
After 2 years of resilience, in which most of the discussions were about closing / reopening, COVID and technical unemployment, for 2022, the retail industry aims to make the transition from just reacting to revolution. Legislation and the relationship with local authorities are the focus, but more than ever, there is a need for a discussion with all the books on the table about responsibility, dependency, taxes and what is the gambling impact on the community.
“In the last two years, almost all of the industry’s energy has been spent on survival. We focused to get out of the pandemic with healthy businesses, not to close locations, to keep our employees, not to overwhelmed or have development plans canceled. The focus was on the short term, for the time being. We came out stronger from the pandemic, we proved resilience, efficiency, we managed to be more united, but the hardship really begins now, when the authorities draw the line and realize that things do not look good at all “, says Sorin Georgescu, president of the Association of Slot Organizers.
In a Romania where there is growing concern about inflation, a deficit in the state budget, problems in collecting taxes and a growing hole in state revenues, the gambling industry could turn into a safe haven for new lawmaking initiatives and additional fundraising. Because the retail segment of the gambling industry is a secure source of revenue for the state. And a reactive reaction would do nothing but postpone a verdict.
Taxes, taxes, taxes
“Each of us has seen that in difficult times, under pressure, there is often no time and space for objective discussions in the context in which the discussion partner, who has the bread and the knife, does not understand our specifics and the rules by which we operate. Perhaps the best example is that we have not found a partner with enough courage to update the legislation. We were the perfect taxpayer: we paid our taxes normally, even though our doors were closed or we were operating with countless restrictions. This discussion about taxes is far from over and we do not want to give up discussions, but instead of pretensions we need to update our messages and talk in public about the role of this industry, the imprint it has. We have the status of a large employer in the economy, so that we are no longer seen only as a secure source of income for the budget and the industry that can still bear one more tax “, adds Sorin Georgescu, ROMSLOT president.
Study on the industry and the impact of gambling
The area where the gambling industry is most vulnerable is related to myths and prejudices, especially when it comes to addiction. In the absence of state or private studies for a long time, various experts and “well-wishers” were the ones who pointed the finger at the industry and launched alarming messages about “millions of addicts” who lose all their wealth in a gambling hall The first step, in order to outline the correct image of gambling halls, has already been taken by ROMSLOT, which together with the partner organizations Rombet and Romanian Bookmakers, have contracted IRES to carry out the most complex study to date. IRES statisticians are the ones who will generate a complete set of data about the industry, gambling habits, customer perception and the impact that slots machines have on customers.
Online versus offline. Online and offline.
“I noticed that in the public space there are characters who want to separate the gambling industry into two distinct segments, good and bad gambling, as if there was not even a common point between online and offline. These attempts are doomed to failure, especially since in the national study prepared by IRES we will also analyze the way the customer perceives retail and gambling in the digital environment, the way our customers’ behaviors changed during the pandemic, if new players appeared during the restriction period. We decided to give an important focus to today’s generation, the 18-year-olds, to see how they perceive us, if we need to become trainers in financial education and if we need to take steps to change legislation so that we do not witness that we have a negative impact on today’s adolescents.” added Sorin Georgescu.
Following the study carried out by IRES, ROMSLOT together with Rombet and Romanian Bookmakers aim to have an open discussion to see how vulnerabilities and preconceptions about gambling can be eliminated. Subsequently, the three professional organizations also want a national communication campaign on the basis already established within the project “We play Responsible. We get vaccinated”, in which as many as possible of the players in the market would be involved, regardless of whether they are slots machines based or in the betting area. In the same time, there is a need for a discussion about the messages that the industry propagates in marketing campaigns – especially through TV commercials.
Important victory for the gambling industry
The project “We play Responsible. We get vaccinated” of the gambling industry was noted and nominated as the campaign with the greatest social impact in 2021. The nomination came from a jury formed of the strongest leaders of the Romanian business community at the Business Review Gala competition. Along with the gambling industry, the representatives of the Romanian Software Community Association, Carrefour Romania, Kaufland Romania and Endava were nominated in the same category.
The campaign carried out by ROMSLOT, Rombet and Romanian Bookmakers had a reach of 8.1 million people who watched the TV commercials, 3.1 million people who watched the messages on the social media accounts of the most important companies operating in retail and online. In addition, gambling is today the only industry with an vaccination rate of over 75 percent among employees.
“We did not want spectacular commercials. We preferred to give voice to people in the gambling and sports betting rooms, because they could become pro-vaccination vectors, to convince their family, colleagues, friends, acquaintances and customers. It was not easy, no good initiative is easy. But what I can tell you is that we have gained courage. Today we are no longer one of the biggest contributors to the state budget, with a record degree of budget collection, today we are also an example of responsibility.”, says Sorin Georgescu.