Re-place Your Bets

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Published in “Casino Inside”, issue 62

The reform process of the Romanian gambling industry, commenced in 2015 by establishing a new legal framework aimed to align the relevant market to the new economic realities, continues also in 2016 with the entering into force of an important regulation for the gambling domain.

Thus, on February 26th, 2016, the Methodological Norms for the implementation of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 77/2009 regarding the organization
and operation of games of chance („Methodological Norms”) have been published in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 151. Given its nature, this normative act has the purpose to supplement and detail the primary legislation, stipulating the practical requirements which must be observed by both online and land based operators. Therefore, the enactment of the Methodological Norms represents a new phase of the legislative strategy started during 2015.

Due to the fact that the gambling sector presents numerous technical peculiarities, the legal framework in place requires additional supplementation, in the form of infralegislative acts issued by the competent regulator, namely the National Gambling Office („NGO”). At this stage, NGO President’ Order regarding the reporting method and access to information transmitted by online operators should be treated with priority. Such technical regulation sets forth the necessary configuration requirements of the technical architecture for the operators which have already entered the market, as well as the requirements for the future licensing and authorization procedure.

On the basis of GEO no. 77/2009, as amended in February, 2015, service providers of the gambling market are required to obtain a 2nd Class license for the specific services supplied to gambling organizers. The category includes:

-Payment processors for the payment services performed, which, in addition to the financial-banking regulations applicable, are bound to obtain a 2nd Class license issued by the NGO;

– Affiliates, defined by the Methodological Norms as those entities obtaining
incomes on the basis of an agreement concluded with an on-line operator, as
a result of the participation to the games of the players redirected by such entities to the website or platform of the organizer;

– Economic operators which provide management and hosting facilities for the gaming platform;

– Producers and/or distributors of specialized software for the provision of gambling IT programs, this category including also the companies which broadcast images with casino-type games;

– Auditors/Certifiers/Conformity assessment bodies for the technical and verification services offered to organizers,

A similar obligation existing also for providers addressing to the land based gambling market.

Given that the Methodological Norms have been enacted, specialized service providers for the gambling industry have the real possibility to apply for the 2nd Class license. This is the first step for the online industry to access the next level, namely the licensing of remote gambling organizers. Thus, operators holding the interim right to operate granted on the basis of article II para. (7) of Law no. 124/2015 will continue their activity, during the validity period of such right, „in accordance with the conditions established at the date of granting”.

Until the interim right expires, moment which varies between June 30, 2016 and January 31, 2017, these operators are required to obtain the license to organize and authorization to operate or otherwise they are losing their right to operate gambling in Romania until they obtain the license and authorization. Thus, according to the Methodological Norms, economic operators planning to organize and operate two or more landbased or online gambling activities are bound to request the license to organize and authorization to operate for each activity. The exception refers to online operators, due to the fact that in this case „the authorization to operate is granted for the entire activity performed through the same gaming platform (…)”

As far as land based gambling is concerned, a first amendment brought by the new regulation refers to the removal of the annexes and instructions for drafting the forms regarding the collections obtained from the operation of slot-machine game systems, which were detailed by the former secondary legislation (Government Decision no. 870/2009) repealed as a result of the enactment of the Methodological Norms (known by the industry in accordance with the abbreviations of the counter indexes required to be reported, Si and Sf). Within the specific section of the Methodological Norms regulating these activities it is stated that the reporting method shall be regulated „through order of NGO President”.

Consequently, the enactment of the Methodological Norms brings more legislative clarity for gambling activities performed in Romania. Nevertheless, the legal framework needs to be supplemented, being also essential the actual method of interpretation and implementation of these new legal provisions.

Place your bets lawfully!

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