A New Tax Reform Is Not Necessary, The Additional Resources for Health are in the Companies That Manage Games Of Luck And Chance.

February 13, 2024 | Reveue

Government supports the new initiative.

Bogotá, Colombia (February 9, 2024) — At the same time that the government, the EPS, the IPS and the users of the health service confront each other with the aim of obtaining greater resources, coverage and better provision of services, an initiative that is beginning to be cooked in Congress is advancing firmly and in consensus. with the support of President Gustavo Petro, his government team, several parliamentarians and others linked to the health industry to solve the sector’s deficit.

It is complementary to the health reform that begins its debate in the Senate in the legislature that begins next February 16. It also generates unity because it can prevent a new tax reform since it will inject millionaires and new resources into the sector.

Incidentally, it can also contribute to compensating the turnover of the Capitation Payment Unit, UPC, increased by 12.01% for the current year and which, taking into account the EPS, was lower than expected, since they aspired to 15% .

The new formula for financing and obtaining fresh resources for public health was devised by the surgeon and senator of the La U party, Antonio Correa.

The new resources

It is simple and after the parliamentarian’s first technical and economic studies, it was concluded that online and other virtual sports betting, which has seen notable growth in recent years, provides a new contribution to health.

According to figures from the companies themselves, the income from the activity has been exponential, with a disturbing detail, a part returns to the bettors and another to the companies that receive million-dollar profits and whose main investment is allocated to advertising, sponsorship of events, contracts promotional campaigns with media references and support especially for football teams. In contrast, your expenses are minimal because everything is online.

Specifically, the approach considers that although the companies that operate sports betting and other online betting have low taxation and hence their billion-dollar income and profits, although they contribute to the State in taxes, it is not proportional, especially in the context of a sector. health in crisis due to lack of resources.

This is one of the main arguments of Senator Correa who expressed to this Agency that: “It cannot be that while the health sector faces a budget crisis, the government seeks reform and needs resources, the EPS are suffocated and many are on the verge of bankruptcy. Just like the IPS and people continue to die at the doors of hospitals or agonize while waiting for a medical appointment, sports betting and other online betting entrepreneurs are getting rich and, what is worse, squandering millionaire resources that “They would serve to save lives or at least improve the quality of life of many Colombians.”

The parliamentarian bases his concept. He points out that for example, for the sponsorship of the Betplay League, the Corredor Empresarial company, owner of the Betplay brand, paid $36,000 million. This increases the offer compared to the previous league by more than $10,000 million, this to prevent one of its competitors Wplay in the bidding from keeping the sponsorship from 2024, since it also offered a sum greater than 20,000 and was It became a dispute that was decided in the full Dimayor assembly.

How many hospitals can be built with that money? How many Primary Health Care Centers (Caps) proposed in President Gustavo Petro’s health reform can be created? Correa asks.

And he assures that: “It cannot be that the majority of professional teams and the so-called category B or Betplay Tournament receive more than $10,000 million annually for having the betting brand printed on their shirt,” says the senator.

He explains that from sponsorships, television commercials, prizes for finalists in soccer tournaments, to name just a few cases, they generate at least another $50,000 million a year.

Revenue by billions

Another official figure from Coljuegos agrees with him and supports his initiative with studies on the behavior of the online betting industry and its income.

According to the entity, in Colombia in the year 2020 of the pandemic, bets operated over the internet closed with revenues close to $8 billion, the following year in 2021 the figure doubled to $16 billion.

In 2022, before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, the figure was already 21 billion and it is estimated that on December 31 of that year it exceeded 26 billion.

Official estimates in 2023 show that the income of the betting sector approached $30 billion, the equivalent of the income of two tax reforms, and by 2024 the estimated income projection could reach $32 billion.

In contrast, Coljuegos’ official balance in terms of transfers to the health sector from January to August 2023 was $564,000 million.

In this regard, on October 3, Marco Emilio Hincapié, president of Coljuegos, stated: “This entity makes great efforts to increase collections.”

High income low health contributions

But precisely, this abysmal difference between income and transfers to the health sector is one of the essential arguments for the project to increase the value of the contributions by these companies and especially in what has to do with betting. online sports.

Another aspect that Correa highlights is that in betting there is also a notable avoidance of resources to the health sector.

In fact, on August 25, Coljuegos and the Financial Information and Analysis Unit, UIAF, signed an agreement to fight against illegality, not only for the non-payment of health contributions, but to expose and prosecute those responsible for practices such as money laundering operations, financing of terrorism, which have permeated the activity of games of luck and chance since ancient times.

Operation image: A few days ago in Bogotá the authorities confiscated items to make illegal bets.

And the examples of illegality in gambling abound. For example, on Monday of last week, in the heart of Bogotá, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Police and Coljuegos itself seized 89 items to place illegal bets.

“It is estimated that due to the illegal operation of the removed items, around $26,000 million was lost that should be allocated to the health sector in Colombia,” highlights the official communication issued by Coljuegos.

With another figure that reveals the magnitude of the business. According to figures from the National Council of Games of Luck and Chance, in 2023, after 35 visits to gambling operators, the balance of contributions to health last year was known.

The transfers to the sector were: Chance: $286,695 million, lotteries: $218,028 million and Raspa & Ready $41,826 million, for a total of $546,791 million, a figure that did not include the sports betting companies where the highest income is.

The market

In fact, Betplay, the star brand of the Corredor Empresarial firm, is approaching a 60% share of the betting market with 40,000 physical sites integrated with Su Red and Super Giros, with one of its largest investments in technology to guarantee security. and reliability of sports betting platforms.

Along with this, 17 other companies complete the industry, including Wplay, Codere, Rivalo, Yajuego, Rushbet, Betsson, Bwin, the main ones, among others.

Several managers of these companies consulted by this Agency were willing to analyze the initiative. However, when German Segura, manager of Betplay, was consulted, the leading company in the sector did not respond.

Petro Backup

After substantiating the initiative, President Gustavo Petro learned about the project and agreed to its processing in the Congress of the Republic.

Thus, the proposal has in its favor several parliamentarians from the Historical Pact, from the U, Liberal party, and even some from Cambio Radical and the Democratic Center see it favorably.

An initiative that was also communicated to the Association of Health Insurance Management Companies, Gestarsalud, and to the Colombian Association of Comprehensive Medicine, Acemi, which brings together the most important EPS in the country.

“No new tax reform is required. The resources that @infopresidencia @petrogustavo needs for health reform are in the multimillion-dollar wealth that online sports betting is generating. An additional contribution of these is the formula to have more preventive health. On February 16, we will present the proposal that will benefit millions of low-income Colombians,” Senator Correa reiterated.

This will be presented at the beginning of the legislature, a project that will undoubtedly contribute to improving the finances of the health sector, which generates consensus and where the greatest beneficiaries are the health users who demand better service delivery every day.

SOURCE: Investigative Journalism Agency (https://www.agenciapi.co/).