Gambling in Moldova
Gambling in Moldova is fully legal and has been developing quite rapidly. The development of gambling gained its momentum especially after gambling was banned in the neighbouring countries Russia and Ukraine. Both offline and online establishments are allowed to operate on the territory of Moldova. Since 2011 gaming legislation has provided that all gaming facilities were monopolised, except for land-based licensed casinos. Casino Licensing in Moldova is under strict legislation with significant obligations and standards placed on licencees. The entire gambling sector is under the control of Loteria Nationala a Moldovei joint-stock company. This is the authority that determines the location of the casino and deals with licensing and taxation.
Casinos in Moldova
These are some of the most casinos in Moldova: Napoleon Palace, Europa and XO. All of them are located in the capital, Chisinau. Moldovan players can take an advantage of 350 gaming clubs that have 3,900 different slot machines. According to the Licensing Chamber, there are two companies that have most of gambling halls: Magic-Land SRL (ТМ Vulcan) and Reneco-EL (TM Imperia). There are also nine bookmakers and one lottery operator registered in Moldova, which is Loteria Moldovei SA.
Gambling Games in Moldova
Just like in many other European countries, products developed by Novomatic enjoy great popularity. Slots such as Book of Ra, Super Hot, Sizzling Hot and Lucky Lady's Charm are normally in the top positions among the popular online casinos. Cards games are also pretty popular among the locals: poker and blackjack. There are computer games and gaming apps for mobile devices that are being developed in Moldova. One of the popular developers of gambling software products is DQ Team. Among the company's games that have gained worldwide are: Delta Quadrant: Empires, Delta Quadrant: Horizons, 7 Gates: Path to Zamolxes, Jeweller: The Cursed Treasure, War in a box: Paper Tanks. Spooky House Studios is also worth mentioning. This Moldova-based company develops games for Android and iOS.
Gambling business in the Republic of Moldova began its development in 1918. This is when the very first clubs were opened up in big cities, which only had card games. After the collapse of the USSR the government decided to develop the gambling industry. But it was only in 1998 when the government took an active initiative - this is when the Law on Gambling and Licensing of Gambling Businesses was passed. Then in 1999 the government published the Law on Gambling that outlined the legal principles of organising and running a gambling establishment. This law has remained in effect to this day. Virtually all types of gambling entertainment are allowed on the nation's soil: games of chance - casinos, slot machines and lotteries, betting and bookmaking offices and Games of skill.
Since 2011 the entire gaming industry in Moldova has been the monopoly of the state, except for land-based casinos. The rules for running a gambling business are prescribed by the following legislative acts: Law on Gambling dated 18.02.1999, The Law on Regulation of Entrepreneurship by Licensing, dated 30.07.2001, The Law on Organising and Running Gambling Games, dated 16.01.2001, Tax code dated 24.04.1997 and the Resolution of the Interdepartmental Commission on Cash Registers, dated 29.05.2008. According to the Republic's legislation, people under the age of 21 or people under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other potent substance are not allowed to take part in any gambling entertainment (except for lotteries and games of skill). The organiser of the gambling entertainment is not allowed to participate in its own games. Any advertising of gambling facilities and their services is not allowed in Moldova. The law also states that all gambling establishments must be located far from educational institutions, religious and medical buildings and from any public places. The regulating authority of Moldova's gambling industry is Loteria Nationala a Moldovei a joint-stock company. This statutory fund is under the Ministry of Finance. This organisation deals with licensing and taxation of gambling establishments and determines the site of its prospective location.
These are the types of gambling operations that are subject to licensing in Moldova: organising and running lotteries (except for the ones that are under the state's monopoly), running a land-based casino, Using gaming machines with monetary rewards and Betting on sporting events. According to the legislation, the organiser of gambling entertainment can be a legal entity registered in the Republic of Moldova that has a proper license. The number of foreign shareholders must not exceed 49% of the authorised capital. Issuance of licenses is handled by the Licensing Chamber, which is subordinate to the Ministry of Economy. The license is valid for one year, after which it must be renewed. Prerequisites for issuing a license to a legal entity that conducts any kind of operations in the gambling industry: organisational and legal form, a joint-stock company or a limited liability company, accompanying activities such as serving food, selling alcohol and tobacco products and others are carried out only on the premises where the main operations are conducte, and the company must not have any people who were previously convicted among its shareholders, board members or employees whose duties are to handle or monitor a game. Nor should the company have any members of companies that were once operating without a proper license. Below are the fees for filing a declaration to obtain a license:
- Casinos - 600,000 MDL (30,700 USD)
- National lottery - 250,000 MDL (12,800 USD)
- Betting, halls with gaming machines - 200,000 MDL (10,300 USD)
- Regional lotteries - 150,000 MDL (7,700 USD)
- Games of skill - 50,000 MDL (2,560 USD)
- Slot machines - 25,000 MDL (1,280 USD)
The license is issued within three days from the moment the receipt for the fee payment is submitted. The amount of the fee for issuing a license will depend on the specific type of gambling activity:
- Using gaming machines - 14,000 MDL (715 USD) for each item
- Employing gaming machines of the American roulette type - 80,000 MDL (4,090 USD) per item
- Betting during sporting or other events - 28% of the total amount of all bets accepted
- Organising and running instant lotteries - 28% of the total cost of lottery tickets that were put up for sale
- Organising and running digital lotteries - 28% of the total cost of lottery tickets sold
- Running a land-based casino that has no more than 6 tables - 180,000 MDL (9,200 USD) For each gaming table starting from the seventh one 360,000 MDL (18,400 USD)
Licensed varieties of gambling
This is what casinos in the Republic of Moldova - Napoleon Palace, Europa and XO have to offer: 50 classical slot machines, 17 tables for table games such as roulette, blackjack and Texas, Russian and Caribbean poker. 350 gaming clubs with 3,900 slot machines are also available to the players. According to the Licensing Chamber, there are only two companies that have the largest number of halls: Magic-Land SRL (Vulcan trademark) and Reneco-EL (Imperia trademark). According to the statistics quoted by the regulating authorities, the players spend a total of 1,000,000 MDL (50,800 USD) each day. Bookmakers have also been enjoying great popularity. Each year they rake in 350,000,000 MDL (almost 17,800,000 USD) of pure profit.
According to the legislation of Moldova, operators of gambling establishments must provide their customers with a financial warranty. The type and the size of financial warranty is determined by the Ministry of Finance. These are the main forms of guaranteeing the protection of financial interests of the players: signing an agreement with an insurance company, providing a warranty from the bank, depositing a certain amount into the bank account specified by the Ministry of Finance Upon expiration of the license the amount is returned with interest, using real estate owned by the organiser as collateral.
Ombudsman and Monitoring
Gaming operations are monitored by the Ministry of Finance and the Licensing Chamber. Tax Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs are the authorised bodies that oversee the legality of operations by companies that provide gambling entertainment.
Online gambling in Moldova
Online gambling in Moldova is legal. On the nation's territory you can freely visit a website of any online casino and withdraw your winnings via certain payment systems. Only persons who are above 21 years of age can play in online casinos. Online gambling is a monopoly of the state and is not subject to licensing. Operations of all online casinos in the country are overseen by АО Loteria Nationala a Moldovei.
Development of the Gambling Market in Moldova
Gambling industry in Moldova has been undergoing a dynamic development, which is shown by tax deductions to the state treasury from the companies that provide gambling entertainment on the nation's territory. The state has been focusing on transforming the gambling industry. In Balti, for example, the city council has been trying to relocate all gaming establishments outside of the city. And in Orhei and Comrat, the authorities decided to suspend the issuance of licenses to any new operators on the market. Junket tourism gave another spur to the development of the gambling industry in the country, which is supposed to increase the number of foreign visitors. In neighbouring countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Israel and Turkey gambling is either banned or severely restricted, so the idea looks quite promising.
The total amount of income tax for legal entities registered in the Republic of Moldova is 12%. Winners are also subject to taxation in the following amounts: 18% - from gambling (except for rewards from advertising campaigns or lotteries), 18% - from advertising campaigns or lotteries, as long as the amount of the rewards does not exceed 10% personal exemption and is no higher than 50,000 MDL (2,560 USD) and 25% - from advertising campaigns or lotteries, as long as the amount of the rewards is no higher than 50,000 MDL (2,560 USD). On the whole, gaming business in the Republic of Moldova has its own ups and downs. Some restrictions do not get in the way of the rapid development in this area. The industry is gradually approaching the European standards. Due to the monopolization of gambling establishments, the authorities have significantly increased the inflow of funds into the country's budget.