Gambling in Romania
Gambling in Romania today is legal. Land-based gambling is widespread in the country. Online gambling has relatively recently been officially legalized - in 2015. The authorities continue to work on improving the legislative framework. The latest amendments to the relevant laws were adopted in 2016. The new provisions have significantly changed the situation in the online gambling business.
Gambling Legislation in Romania
Romania has a long history of gambling legalisation. The first national lottery in the country, Lottery Romana, appeared in 1906. Under the leadership of Nicolae Ceausescu, gambling was prohibited. However, after his removal in 1990, gambling business was legalised again. The first casino appeared in the country in 1991, founded by the Austrian company Casino Austria. The active development of the gambling industry in Romania began from this moment:
- 1992 - the Commission on gambling business was organized. The department was responsible for monitoring the activities of all the country's land-based casinos.
- 1993 - Law on the taxation of gambling institutions.
- 1998 - compulsory licensing introduced. The provisions are laid down in the Gambling Business Regulation Act.
- 1999 - requirements for websites and buildings used for casinos were introduced.
- 2003 - the government developed a scheme to attract foreign investment Bookmakers that accept sports betting are allowed.
To date, the work of land-based casinos is regulated by almost a dozen official laws, decrees and resolutions. In addition, there are additional instructions, orders, decisions provided by the National Gambling Office.
Regulation of online gambling business
The situation with the legalisation of online gambling looks a little more complicated. In fact, gambling websites have been operating on Romanian servers from 2008-2009. But their activities were considered illegal until 2015. The first attempt to legalise online casinos took place in 2009. However, the European Commission has found a number of shortcomings in the draft law and withdrawn it. The process of legalizing online gambling in 2011 ended in the same way. EU representatives decided that the Romanian laws do not fully comply with the provisions in force in the European Union. And only the last law, adopted in 2015, was recognised as satisfactory. The country's authorities have defined the legislative framework for conducting activities for local and international companies. Along with that, they introduced a three-tier tax system. Operators acting since 2009 on the "black market" also received an offer for legalisation. The 20% tax on all income received over the years of operation allowed to solve the issue.
Oficiul Naţional pentru Jocuri de Noroc - gambling regulator in Romania
The official regulator of gambling was organised in the same 2015 -0 the National Gambling Bureau of Romania (Oficiul Naţional pentru Jocuri de Noroc, ONJN). Therefore, the state managed to centralise all activities related to gambling on the Internet. The primary tasks of the department are: licensing online operators, controlling the activities of casinos on the Internet and researching and analysing trends in the European gambling market on the web. As stated by the head of the department, Christine Nistor, among other things, the Bureau seeks to submit proposals on the development of new provisions to bring Romanian legislation into line with European norms. And therefore, to stimulate the market and increase revenues to the budget. The results were pretty fast. New rules for online gambling operators were already published in 2016. They implied the following requirements: to providers: they must be residents of Romania or the EU and have appropriate licenses, to the time to pay taxes: precise time frames, methods of payment and penalties for violation of the requirements and do website design: online casinos are obliged to clearly specify the size of bets, prizes, limits and percentages in Romanian The new provisions caused mixed reactions. As it turned out, most operators do not have licenses that meet the requirements of the new rules. Some companies preferred to leave the Romanian market. In particular, William Hill has suspended the activities of its casinos. However, many providers fulfilled the conditions of the laws adopted in 2015-2016. In addition, several well-known companies announced the desire to develop the Romanian market.
Conditions for obtaining licenses for gambling in Romania
Today, gambling in Romania is divided into several categories: slot machines, table games, lotteries, betting, online games in casinos. Organisers of the gambling business must meet rather strict requirements. Each type of gambling requires a separate license. To obtain a permit to conduct activities in land-based casinos, business owners must provide: an application for a license, a lease agreement or documents on the ownership of the premises intended for the institution, documents confirming that the premises comply with the current requirements, a certificate on the clean record of the company's managers, documents confirming that seed capital is legal and information about the absence of debts to the budget. In addition, it is necessary to form a special guarantee fund for paying rewards. An obligatory requirement is to provide documents confirming the originality and good technical condition of the gambling equipment. Licenses are issued not only for conducting activities but for each slot machine. There are age limits for employees of casinos.
Permits are issued separately for each type of gambling business. License to organise the activities of land-based institutions. Validity period - 10 years. The amounts of annual license fees vary from EUR 15,000 (poker clubs) to 20,000 (casinos) depending on the type of activity. The types of games also determine the size of the authorization fee. In addition, operators of land-based casinos are required to pay annual contributions to the Public Foundation for Responsible Gaming. License to organise the work of online casinos. The appendix to the document indicates which games are hosted on the platform. The license is valid for 10 years. The amount of annual license fees depend on the profitability of portals: EUR 60 thousand with a turnover of 500 thousand and 120 thousand with a total profit of over 10 million. Also, there is a payment for authorization and contributions to the Public Foundation for Responsible Gaming. License for supplying content, platforms and software.
Limitations on access to gambling
Despite the legalisation of the gambling business, Romania has severe restrictions. In particular, only adults who have reached the age of 18 are allowed to play. According to the rules introduced in 2016, operators are also obliged to take care of the protection of minors: billboards are prohibited to be installed near educational institutions, marketing materials include a prohibition on the participation of minors in gambling and online casinos have strict verification procedures. All gambling venues and portals are obliged to cooperate with the Public Foundation for Responsible Gaming and to monitor the signs of ludomania (gambling addiction) among visitors.
Development of the Gambling Market in Romania
Despite the rather severe legislative requirements and the ongoing regulation of the online industry, experts positively assess the prospects for the development of gambling in Romania. There are facts proving the active development of the market by international operators which confirm the positive forecasts. For example:
- Opening of a live casino studio by Playtech.
- Obtaining a Romanian license by the developer and supplier of gambling games Yggdrasil Gaming.
- Getting a Romanian license by the content provider for online casinos EveryMatrix.
- Opening of a localised website 888 Holdings. The resource is an integrated portal of casino games, poker room and bookmaker of the brand.
According to the report of the European Game Commission, the influx of companies wishing to enter the Romanian market has significantly increased. 13 operators have received temporary licenses. The list of applicants for obtaining permits continues to grow.