MPs to Try Again on Sports Betting Liberalisation and Raising the Welfare Allowance

By , 19 Apr 2018, 11:58 AM Business
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The National Assembly will be voting again today on legislative amendments liberalising sports betting following a veto by the upper chamber. MPs are also expected to raise the basic welfare allowance and appoint three members of the judicial council. 

STA, 19 April 2018 – The National Council vetoed the betting amendments, which have been under attack from the country's sole sports betting provider, with the argument they would have a negative impact on the funding of sports associations, charities and organisations of the disabled.

The current gaming act restricts conventional games of chance, including betting, to the national lottery operator Loterija Slovenije and the sports betting provider Športna Loterija.

However, Branko Zorman of the SMC has argued that 80% of Slovenians bet through online services based abroad, which do not have a concession or pay taxes here.

The amendments would require providers to obtain a licence and pay licence fees, which Zorman believes will generate more funds for sports and for disability and humanitarian organisations and not less as claimed by veto proponents.

A heated debate is expected, as Zoraman has also been speaking about alleged attempts to bribe MPs to reject the changes.

Moreover, a push in favour of liberalisation came on Tuesday from several influential sports club directors, the head of the athletes' trade union Dejan Stefanovic and tax expert and former sports official Ivan Simič.

Another major moment at today's session will be the vote on the proposal to raise the basic welfare allowance.

While the government has proposed raising the allowance from EUR 297 to EUR 331, the relevant parliamentary committee has passed an amendment by the opposition Left that raises it to EUR 385.

Labour, Family and Social Affairs Minister Anja Kopač Mark has been insisting that such an increase is too drastic, bringing the allowance too close to the minimum wage.

"Work has to remain a value in our society," the SocDems member argued despite claims by the MPs supporting the Left's amendment that EUR 331 does not suffice for a dignified life.

The agenda of the session also includes a vote on three candidates for the Judicial Council. The term of six of the council's 11 members expires in July and three are appointed by parliament upon the proposal of the country's president.

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