New Gambling Legislation – the Secondary Legislation Was Notified to the European Commission

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Published in “Casino Inside”, issue 54

Recently, following long discussions with members of the gambling operators associations, on April 9th, 2015, the Romanian Government has notified to the European Commission the secondary legislation, aiming to regulate the methodological guidelines for organising and operating gambling activities in Romania.

Adopting the draft Government decision is justified by the fact that the legislative act which regulates gambling activities needs to be adapted to the new conditions for licensing and authorisation of traditional and remote gambling activities, as well as other aspects linked to related services in the gambling sector.

The Government Decision regulating the secondary legislation will most probably be approved and will enter into force after the stand still period ends, namely after July 10th, 2015.

Verdict: Remote slot-machine games are permitted

As our readers might remember, a legitimate question that arose following the entering into force of the new legal provisions was whether remote slot-machine games can be lawfully organised in Romania, since they are not expressly mentioned in the current classification of gambling activities.

Fortunately, this aspect is clarified in the draft secondary legislation, as online slot-machine-like games are now explicitly included in the category of remote casino games.

Unexpected provisions within the secondary legislation?

There is little unexpected news, at least not for the participants to the process of drafting the secondary legislation, as part of the Consultative Council, or agents that were aware of the outcome of these discussions.

We would point out, however, the following aspects related to online gambling:

  • except for the documents already expressly mentioned in the legislation as mandatory in the licensing process, the secondary legislation mentions the obligation of the applicant to provide any information and documents requested by the National Gambling Office (NGO);
  • the applicant for a license and authorization for remote gambling activities must provide to the NGO, upon the first application, a centralised situation with information regarding accounts opened by Romanian players, registered on the gaming platforms;
  • the secondary legislation regulates a 12 months provisional right for organizing and exploitation of remote gambling activities; although an interim period ending in December, 2015 is intended to be regulated through the proposal for the approval and amendment of GEO 92/2014.
  • the norms expressly regulate the obligation to transfer to the platform to be licensed in Romania all Romanian players having accounts opened with the affiliates of the applicant, and that are registered in a non-EU Member State; most probably, in practice the NGO will ask the transfer from all affiliates, irrespective of whether they are located in an EU or a non-EU Member state;
  • promoting bonuses to participants is only allowed within the operators’ own locations or on their own websites or the affiliates’ websites, as well as through sending electronic messages to players holding active accounts, in their own database, if they have previously agreed to receive such communications;
  • the 15 calendar days term for confirming the players’ data upon the first registration is rather tight, being shorter than in other EU countries;
  • licensing requirements do not seem possible to be fulfilled at group level (e.g., in order for a third party – even if related party – to provide the operator the right to use the platform, it must be first obtain a 2nd class license from the NGO);
  • the Romanian legal provisions related to online gambling will be applicable to all operators that have a gaming platform which: (i) offers services in Romanian, (ii) cashes in and makes payments in Romanian lei, (iii) provides related and support services in Romanian and (iv) offers marketing and advertising services in Romanian for online gambling.

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