Since Romania created its first gambling activities in 1906 with the launch of its national lottery, Lotteria Romana, gambling has become a widespread form of entertainment. Over the years, much progress has been made in the local gambling industry, peaking quite recently with news that the local government has formed a new office which will be tasked for overseeing the regulation of legal gambling in the country.
The new National Gambling Office will be responsible for land based and online operations, finally bringing some structure to a fast expanding industry which generates millions.
The first land based casino was built in Romania in 1991, and, with the advent of internet gambling, it was only natural that the popularity of terrestrial gambling would pick up online as well. Today, Romania boasts over 20 mega casinos, while tens of thousands of gaming machines can be found across the country in arcades and coffee shops. Most major cities allow legal high street betting activities and the government was an open book when it came to laws governing this aspect of gambling.
For years, however, online gambling legislation has been a topic largely ignored by the government. As there are no actual laws in place preventing Romanian residents from frequenting online gambling sites, gamblers from this former Communist bloc are loyal customers at the multiple sports betting and online casino sites offering them gambling options.
In recent years, the Romanian government has realized that it is losing out on precious tax revenues through the money that Romanians are spending at offshore sites. In 2011, the government adopted new but controversial online gambling legislation that imposed censorship on the internet and tried to block online gambling sites. The laws came under fire from the European Union which claimed that they go against EU Treaties. The attempts to block these sites completely failed miserably and the new National Gambling Office set up by the Romania government now aims to take a more moderate approach by introducing proper online gambling regulation and licensing operators.
The new office will oversee gambling sites, dictating regulation and licensing laws and setting new rules. While not all the details have been ironed out yet, it has been learned that all operators wishing to offer their services to Romanian gamblers would need to be physically located in the country. Also, the Romanian Ministry of Finance will have the final word regarding regulation and licensing. There are still a number of questions regarding Romania’s online gambling regime, including how operators will be taxed and whether the government will be able to regulate such a fast-growing industry.
Time will tell whether the latest attempts by the Romanian government will bring in the millions in tax money envisioned by the cash-strapped European country.