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Romania Approves New Gambling Legislation, Opens Market to Foreign Operators

Romania Gambling reform


  • The Romanian government hopes to collect extra revenues for at least €100 million every year with the approval of an all-new gambling legislation.

Earlier last week, the Romanian Parliament made a crucial step in the process of reforming its gambling regulation with the approval of a modified version of the ordinance GEO 92/2014, the set of norms that aims to open the national market and make it more attractive to international gambling operators.

The ordinance, which has now been submitted to the Constitutional Court of Romania for review, will enter into effect once it will have received the signature of Romania's President of the Republic, and it will be subsequently published on the Official Gazette.

Built to attract foreign investments and to meet some of the requests sent by the European Commission after the approval of the current restrictive regulation in place since 2013, Romania's new gambling law will lead to an overhaul of the licensing system in force today.

Taxation-wise, the new system should develop around three different tiers, with a one-percent tax applied to all players who put together revenues between €133 and €15,000, a 16-percent tax on revenues between €15,000 and €100,000, and a 25-percent tax on revenues over €100,000. Romania's authorities believe that the new regulation could lead the State to earn extra revenues of at least €100 million a year.

While keeping Romania's players in the dot-com player pool, the new law will cancel some of the most criticized requirements approved in the past, starting from one that imposed operators interested in offering their games in the country be legally established in Romania.

After the Presidential signature, operators willing to accept players from Romania will have the possibility to apply for a new State-issued license as long as they are based in any country part of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Iceland.

The operators, however, will be asked to keep a mirror of their servers in Romania, in order to allow the country's regulator to have constant and direct access to all the relevant data.

With the clear intention to fight against the presence of unlicensed operators, the new legislative text also introduces a set of specific norms to be applied to those who have been offering their services without a license.

These norms include a one-year delay for their application to enter Romania's market, and a retroactive tax that will demand them to pay 20 percent of the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) generated by Romania's nationals. Once the ordinance will become law, the operators will have 90 days to pay any back taxes owed to the State.

Romania's back tax will work similarly to the measure introduced in Spain back in 2012, when the State asked to the operators interested to join the dot-es gambling market to pay a back tax applied to the Spain-related GGR generated before the regulation of the market.

Through the new text, Romania will finally establish a clear and easy-to-understand legislative framework for gambling operators, as this will formally allow the offer of land-based and online betting, online casino gambling, live poker games in poker clubs, tombola games, and temporary gambling activities organised in holiday resorts, which the authorities believe may help Romania's tourism industry to grow.

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