Gambling – An Industry of Adrenaline

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Published in “Casino Inside”, issue 65

Since at the end of this month, specifically on 30 June 2016, the first interim rights to operate remote gambling, granted by NGO, will expire, we expect to see the first licenses (Class I) and the authorizations to operate and exploit remote gambling in Romania entering into force on 1st of July 2016.

Most operators have already begun the documentation process for obtaining the 1st class license, realizing that they could continue to operate only if their 1st class license applications will be approved in a timely manner so that their licenses will enter into force before or at the latest upon expiration of the interim right.

However, for the operators to be able to lawfully operate under a 1st class license granted by NGO, it is also necessary that their service suppliers (i.e. operators offering management and hosting facilities on their gaming platform, payment processors, software producers and distributors, affiliates, certifiers and auditors) have obtained a 2nd class license.

By interpretation of the norms implementing the provisions of GEO 77/2009 on the organization and operation of gambling, it seemed that the service providers will be required to obtain their licenses earlier, namely by the expiration of a grace period of 90 days calculated from the entry into force of the norms approved by Government Decision no. 111/2016, such grace period ending on May 26, 2016.

The same legislative act represents that, the activity of the operators who have previously obtained the (interim) right to operate gambling activities in Romania, based on the legal provisions will develop their activity under the conditions at the time such was granted, throughout its entire validity period.

After subsequent amendments, NGO intended to clarify this situation for the benefit of operators and service providers, posting on his official website the following announcement:

“We hereby announce you that starting with the entering into force of Government Decision no. 111/2016 (secondary legislation -our note), the process for obtaining the 2nd Class licenses has been initiated.

Economic operators performing ancillary activities in the field of remote gambling in Romania may obtain the necessary license to perform this type of services to the licensed gambling organizers.

The economic agents which, at the date the NGO granted the right to organize and operate
remote games of chance on the basis of Article II para. (7) of Law no. 124/2015, were supplying ancillary specialized gambling services to the operators which obtained the right to operate remote games of chance, may continue to offer these services to such operators, during the entire period of such right and not only until 26 May 2016 (the 90 days legal term provided by Article 156 paragraph (2) of Government Decision no. 111/2016).”

As such, the interpretation of the NGO seems to be that, in the above mentioned situation and period, the law permits a limited in time exemption from the obligation to hold a 2nd class license. While it might seem that this announcement has offered a slight leisure for the past month, in fact, operators have rushed their service providers to apply for a 2nd class license.

As a result, after the entry into force of HG 111/2016 and the opening of the licensing procedure for obtaining a 2nd class license, during the NGO’s Supervisory Committee meeting of March 30, 2016, NGO approved 16 licenses while it continued to analyze and approve over 10 files at each Committee’s meeting.

So far, more than 50 2nd class licenses applications have been approved and many others are pending.

The list of the 2nd class licenses published on the NGO’s website is not yet updated and the following licenses to be granted belong to the certifiers and the auditors, respectively to the international laboratories for certification and auditing remote gambling platforms.

We recall that B2C operators, when submitting the documents for obtaining a 1st class license, are required to prove that they hold certification of the gambling software and platform, performed by a specialized company, which holds a 2nd class license granted by NGO. Thus, licensing of certifiers and auditors is mandatory for the licensing process of online gambling operators.

In addition, the need to clarify the legal provisions’ inconsistencies and gaps and to adapt legislation to the reality of remote gambling field requires a sustained effort and a permanent dialogue between NGO, the gambling operators / service providers by their authorized representatives or their lawyers and, as the case should be, the gambling associations.

In conclusion, it seems that in these busy times we are, metaphorically speaking, trapped in a slot-machine game with its buttons or levers permanently guided. At this dynamic juncture, we believe that the targeted jackpot is for the licensing process and the gambling legislation to be adapted to the market needs, without any black-outs. In other words, one of the purposes of this generalized trepidation is that, at the key moment, flagship is easily handed over by the interim right to the 1st class license. But even after this imminent “remittance”, we trust that the entertainment industry of gambling in Romania will remain an industry of adrenaline.

Place your bets lawfully.

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