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Romania’s Stance on Gambling: Stringent Regulations in the Making



Romania’s government, led by Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, has intensified its grip on the nation’s gambling sector with the introduction of an emergency ordinance. Industry specialists suggest this move might freeze the active gambling scene in Romania.

Immediate repercussions of the ordinance indicate a potential shutdown of online gambling platforms. The brick-and-mortar retail establishments, on the other hand, might see a dwindling presence with only around 20% remaining operational. This, in turn, could lead to a surge in black-market gambling activities.

Recent amendments to Ordinance 77/2009 place legal gambling operators in a precarious situation, forcing them to navigate a labyrinth of regulatory challenges. One of the most debated alterations revolves around the establishment of a ‘social responsibility’ department under ONJN. The state body demands online operators with a Class I license to contribute a hefty €200,000 annually. Simultaneously, those holding a Class II license are required to part with €15,000 each year as a vice tax.

It’s noteworthy that the Treasury already holds funds designated solely for Responsible Gaming initiatives. These monies are accrued from the vice fees already levied on operators and amassed by the government. Yet, these existing funds are of lesser magnitude than the newly proposed fees. Moreover, the issuance of operational licenses is contingent upon the payment of these charges.


The concept of a Responsible Gaming Zone, despite being in place for over eight years under ONJN, has seen minimal progress. Critics argue that the inefficacy stems from the institution’s inability to devise effective social responsibility campaigns in tandem with professionals like psychologists, sociologists, and medical experts. The accumulated funds earmarked for this purpose remain stagnant, with no alternative allocation plans in sight.

However, the authorities seem to be rekindling their commitment to addressing gambling-related issues. Their primary objective revolves around safeguarding players by offering guidance, protection, and support.

Elaborating on the specifics, the draft ordinance outlines that every online operator is expected to provide €200,000. In contrast, each slot machine’s contribution stands at €500, as detailed in the ordinance excerpt.

  1. Article 10, paragraph (4), paragraph (5^1), paragraph (6) and paragraph (6^1) are amended and will have the following content:

(4) It is established under the O.N.J.N. an activity fully financed from own revenues in accordance with the provisions of Law no. 500/2002, with subsequent amendments and additions, to promote compliance with the principles and measures regarding socially responsible gambling, as they are regulated by the provisions of art. 2 of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 20/2013 regarding the establishment, organization and operation of the National Office for Games of Chance and for the amendment and completion of the emergency Government Ordinance no. 77/2009 on the organization and operation of gambling, with subsequent amendments and additions. Own revenues are made up of the contributions of licensed gambling organizers, with the following annual contributions:

  1. remote gambling organizers licensed from class I – 200,000 euros annually;
  2. legal entities directly involved in the field of traditional and remote gambling licensed from class II – 15,000 euros annually;
  3. class III state monopoly distance games – 100,000 euros annually;
  4. licensed traditional gambling operators, as it follows:
  • For lotto games: 1,000,000 euros annually
  • For video lottery games: 500 euros for each device annually
  • For mutual bets: 100,000 euros annually
  • For fixed odds bets: 200,000 euros annually
  • For counter bets: 100,000 euros annually
  • For games of chance characteristic of casinos: 4,000 euros annually for each game table
  • For the characteristic games of the poker club: 5,000 euros annually for each club
  • For slot-machine type games: 500 euros for each slot machine annually
  • For bingo games held in gaming rooms: 5,000 euros annually
  • For bingo games of chance organized through the systems of television networks: 500,000 euros annually

(5^1) Own activity revenues are used for the prevention of gambling addiction and will be allocated for activities and programs for the protection of minors or other vulnerable groups, from a social and economic point of view, against gambling, prevention and the treatment of gambling addiction, for advertising and publicity regarding the prevention of gambling addiction and the promotion of responsible gambling, the creation of a national level base on the auto register of excluded and undesirable persons, ONJN’s integrated IT infrastructure – hardware and software – intended exclusively combating and preventing gambling addiction, including a telverde communication line, as well as for ensuring personnel expenses related to own activity within the maximum limit of 5% of the total amounts related to the activity.

(6) The deadline for payment of the contribution provided for in para. (4) is as follows: for the first calendar year of granting the license, within 10 days from the date of approval of the documentation, and for subsequent years, until January 25 of each calendar year.


(6^1) In the event of the termination of the validity of the license, for any reason, the annual contribution provided for in par. (4) is due in full/calendar year, regardless of when it expires.

Experts believe that the ordinance, in its present state, won’t be published in the Official Gazette. Intense discussions are currently in progress to amend specific aspects.

Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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