Romania proposes ‘Emergency Ordinance’ to revise gambling industry regulations

Romania proposes ‘Emergency Ordinance’ to revise gambling industry regulations

Romania has recently unveiled a draft emergency ordinance, with the intention to potentially reshaping the regulatory landscape for gaming sector in the Eastern European country. On 5th of October, the government of Romania officially gave its approval to the new regulations through the emergency ordinance, which includes implementation of new regulations restricting external gambling advertising to 35 square meters and banning casinos from using incentives to tempt gaming enthusiasts.

The ordinance in question brings several noteworthy provisions, including the requirement for gambling operators to establish permanent headquarters within Romania, which will make them to move away from their current locations in countries like Malta. In other words, companies operating in Romania’s gaming sector must have a permanent presence in the country to ensure that income tax remains within the boundaries of the country. This will surely make many companies to move away from their current locations in countries like Malta.

Furthermore, first-class operators, which include bookmakers, are now obligated to pay a significantly higher amount of 500,000 euros per annum to the responsible gambling fund. The figure represents a substantial hike from the previously required amount of 5,000 euros.

Another noteworthy alteration is the ban on selling of alcoholic beverages within the four walls of gambling halls. Lastly, a vice tax has been introduced, which will amount to 500 euros per gambling machine or video lottery terminal on an annual basis.

The aforementioned provisions of the ordinance collectively reflect the government's commitment to regulating & controlling the south-eastern European country’s gambling industry.

When asked for a comment on the ordinance, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said, “I want to end once and for all the situation in which betting companies make billions in Romania and send all the profit outside the country and even outside the EU.”

For conventional games, such as fixed-odds wagering and lotto, licensing fees have been almost doubled, now standing at €200,000. Additionally, for casino games, the licensing cost has increased from €115,000 to €150,000, reflecting a noteworthy increase in the regulatory expenses associated with these activities.

The primary focus of the Emergency Ordinance appears to be large sportsbooks. However, as per information made available by representatives of the National Gambling Office (ONJN), which co-initiated the Emergency Ordinance, only a single major online wagering operator is currently operating within Romania. Anyways, the ordinance in question aims to reshape the regulatory landscape for gaming in the country.

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