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Romania Legalizes Online Gambling

Today, newly created National Gambling Office in Romania has opened his doors to potential operators. The National Gambling Office (NGO), which was appointed on 4th of April, will be mainly responsible for licensing the operators as well as regulating and monitoring the gambling in the country,

This is the latest of Romanian efforts to legalize and tax gambling in the country. Previously, there were two legislations covering online gambling; one in 2010 which aims to regulate online gambling and a secondary legislation on 2011 which allows the licensing of such websites. However without a regulating judicial agency, both legislations were ineffective and licensing of websites were blocked. 

Objections of the EU Commission have forced Romanian lawmakers to apply some changes to the original 2010 legislation, mostly about the method used in calculating the tax. For example in poker,  the method in the original legislation was to tax all bets in all streets. Now this has been changed to the “Gross Gaming Revenue” (GGR). GGR is widely used on taxation of online gambling and is more favorable especially for poker players since it excludes unraked pots from taxation. 

The 2011 legislation has some strict regulations for both operators and players. To acquire the license, the company should be legally based in Romania. If the company is not licensed in Romania but legally based in EU, legislation imposes some very strict resitrictions in marketing and promotions. For players, the legislation make it a criminal act for any Romanian citizen to gamble on a unlicensed operator and imposes a prison sentence up to 2 years. 

Despite the changes presented by Romanian lawmakers, EU Commission still states that the legislations don´t comply with EU laws. Considering all the strict restrictions and non compliance with EU laws, it seems like only the biggest operators will be interested in obtaining a license in Romania. 

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