New Legislation on Gambling – Part I: Overview

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Published in “Casino Inside”, issue 51

Late last year, in its last meeting, the Government adopted the Emergency Ordinance no. 92/2014 regarding certain fiscal measures and for the amendment of certain normative acts. The new regulations were published in the Official Gazette on December 30, 2014 and will come into force on February 13, bringing significant changes to the gambling legislation.

These amendments concern the default notice (Infringement no. 2013/4216) issued by the European Commission, by which it was drawn attention to certain provisions stipulated in Government Emergency Ordinance No 77/2009 on the organisation and operation of gambling games, which seem to raise issues of compatibility with the fundamental principles of the freedom to provide services regulated by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and by which objections were raised with regard to the lack of coherence of the Romanian legal framework in respect to gambling.

Without saying anything about the coherence of the new legislation that will come into force on February 13, we consider that the new legislative framework aims at bringing more money to the state budget by unblocking the online gambling market, as well as through the opening it has for the foreign gambling operators from another EU member state, EEA state or from Switzerland.

In addition, other amendments which, on a case by case basis, can be relevant, address a few topics such as:

  • Advertising and publicity for gambling
  • Changing conditions for jointly operated gambling (joint ventures)
  • Activities that will require prior approval or a license from ONJN
  • Regulation of new gambling products such as betting exchange, lottery, unnamed gambling or temporary gambling
  • Removal of mutual betting activities from Romanian Lottery’s monopole
  • Establishing a foundation of public interest in the field of gambling that will collect annual contributions from all operators
  • Express regulation of games that are not considered gambling
  • Doubling the duration for which the licenses for gambling are granted, namely from 5 to 10 years, and establishing the 3 months valid licenses for organizing temporary gambling
  • Regulation of new conditions that must be fulfilled by the remote gambling operators
  • Changing the tax revenue from gambling, including broadening the tax base gains from gambling and changing tax rates
  • Regulating a new taxation system on player’s revenue (no longer on winnings, as formerly provided by the legislation) consisting of a triple threshold system
  • Defining the gambling revenues which determine how the authorisation fee will be calculated
  • Regulating how to pay the gambling licenses fees for each category of gambling products
  • Regulating the additional licensing requirements for the remote gambling operators
  • Additional conditions for suspending or revoking the licenses and establishing the blacklist for unlicensed gambling organizers in Romania aligning with the regulatory provision of the EU Member States
  • Doubling the minimum number of slot-machine apparatus that can be operated in the same location or in different locations by the same operator (from 50 to 100)
  • Aspects related to jack-pot special prizes
  • Technical rules of certification and control for the means of game
  • Establishing that ONJN will conduct the monitoring and surveillance of online gambling operators and repealing the provisions on monitoring and reporting for online gambling
  • Establishing the requirement to obtain a license from ONJN for production, distribution, repair and maintenance of gaming equipment, importation,exportation, intra-Community purchase, intra-Community supply or other activities involving gaming components or equipment, with a view to any kind of marketing or use on Romanian territory
  • Establishing the requirement to obtain a license from ONJN for the economic operators which conduct activities related to online gambling activities in Romania, namely the operators which offer management and hosting facilities on their gambling platform, payment processors, manufacturers and distributors of software, affiliates, certifiers and
  • auditors
  • Establishing the express prohibition of participation to gaming for certain categories of people involved in gambling activities
  • Tightening the offenses committed by the organizers of gambling or other entities involved in the field of gambling activities
  • Decriminalization as criminal offense of the participation of natural persons on Romanian territory to online gambling activities not authorized on the Romanian territory by ONJN and sanctioning this deed as minor offence, with an administrative fine only
  • Conversion into Euro of the security funds for covering the risk of non-payment, of the license fees and of the authorisation fees
  • Establishing 3 categories of licenses for remote gambling which creates a progressive tax system
  • Changes to the minimum value of the subscribed and paid share capital required for the application for a license to organize gambling
  • Creation of a vice tax for gambling activities characteristic to slot machine, namely 400 euro / authorized post / year, payable by the organizer along with the license fee
  • Regulation of administrative fees for the remote gambling license application, namely the documentation analysis fee and the license issuance fee.

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