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The Controversial Appointment Shaking Up Romania’s Gambling Regulation



The Controversial Appointment Shaking Up Romania’s Gambling Regulation: A Deep Dive

In an industry where expertise and experience are paramount, the recent appointment of Cristi Pascu as vice president of the National Gambling Office (ONJN) has sent shockwaves through Romania’s gambling sector. With a background that is as unconventional as it is intriguing, Pascu’s entry into a pivotal role within the regulatory framework raises questions, concerns, and a curiosity about the future of gambling regulation in Romania. This deep dive aims to unpack the layers behind this appointment, examining its potential impact on the industry and what it signals about the intersection of politics, regulation, and the gambling sector.

The Unlikely Candidate:

Cristi Pascu’s journey to the vice presidency of the ONJN is anything but typical. A barber by trade with a degree from a private university, Pascu’s path crossed into politics and entrepreneurship before landing him in a role that is central to the regulation of Romania’s multi-billion euro gambling industry. His appointment, decided swiftly and enacted under the cover of night, has left many asking: Why him?

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu’s decision to appoint Pascu, against the backdrop of a rejected initial candidate from the PNL, hints at the intricate dance of political alliances and compromises. Pascu’s political affiliation with the PNL and his previous roles in local governance and entrepreneurship are highlighted as the pillars of his qualification. However, his lack of direct experience in the gambling sector cannot be overlooked.

The Gambling Landscape:

The ONJN stands as the guardian of Romania’s gambling integrity, arbitrating and regulating an industry that pulses with financial and social implications. With the gambling market’s value soaring into billions of euros, the need for astute, informed, and experienced governance is undeniable. Yet, Pascu’s admission of his limited knowledge in gambling regulation, coupled with a candid acknowledgment of the learning curve he faces, paints a picture of an underdog stepping into the arena.


Civil Society’s Concerns:

The uproar from parts of civil society and certain parliamentarians over Pascu’s appointment underscores a deeper unease. With gambling addiction on the rise and vulnerable populations at risk, the demand for robust, responsive, and responsible regulation has never been more critical. The stalled legislative efforts to curb the gambling industry’s excesses reflect a contentious battleground where the future of Romanian society’s welfare is at stake.

Challenges Ahead:

Pascu’s first steps as vice president will be closely scrutinized. His entrepreneurial spirit and outsider perspective could inject a fresh dynamic into the ONJN, challenging norms and fostering innovation. Yet, the steep learning curve and the urgent need for effective regulation present formidable challenges. The balancing act between facilitating industry growth and protecting societal interests will test Pascu’s resolve, adaptability, and commitment to his new role.


Cristi Pascu’s journey from a barber to the vice president of Romania’s National Gambling Office is a narrative of unexpected twists and the potential for change. As the gambling industry and society at large watch on, the success of this appointment will hinge on Pascu’s ability to bridge his entrepreneurial acumen with the demands of rigorous, ethical, and impactful regulation. The stakes are high, and the outcomes will resonate far beyond the halls of the ONJN. The question remains: Will Cristi Pascu redefine what it means to regulate Romania’s gambling industry, or will this gamble on an unconventional candidate prove too risky? Only time will tell.


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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