The “stay at home” orders from Minnesota’s government have increased the consumption of tobacco and alcohol in the entire state. This novel COVID-19 has massacred the life of the people, and they have been using tobacco and alcohol to eliminate the mental stresses since the orders given by the state government. In addition to this, social distancing can also induce the legalization of alternative activities for entertainment, including online casino games or sports betting.
Lockdown has provoked the use of tobacco and alcohol
In Minnesota, the COVID-19 case was found on 1st March of 2020, and soon after that, the state’s government declared to pause all the activities to reduce the transmission of the virus. The order was given to shut down all the non-essential shops, businesses, etc., and to force the general people to stay at their own homes.
After this declaration, along with the other non-essential industries and businesses, the casinos in that state began reopening in May. Isolation and quarantine made the people frustrated and bored, and it is assumed that because of the “stay at home” order, the people in that state increased their consumption of tobacco and alcohol. According to those people, these substances reduced their stresses, and they began to look for new ways for getting entertainment, which included several communication platforms, video streaming, participating in online casino gaming or sports betting, lotteries, and so on.
Because of the substitutions and choosing these forms of entertainment, the sin taxes increased in Minnesota, and the estimation value revealed that the revenue soared to $37 million, which is more than the predicted amount – disclosed by the Department of Management and Budget. In this lockdown, many businesses and industries had appeared as the winners, while some businesses were totally stopped, and others faced a massive loss. Therefore, it was predicted that there could be a deficit of around $2.3 billion. The net revenue from the tobacco company was almost $20 million, which is undoubtedly more than the predicted value, whereas the net taxes from the gambling and casino games like bingo and pull-tabs were two times higher than expected.
The director of the state fiscal studies, Brian Sigritz, said that those taxes could increase in a few more states, but the lawmakers might try legalizing these forms of entertainment.