The Government of Romania has announced the introduction of new rules for both online and offline gambling and sports betting, including a steep increase for license fees and slot machine fees.
The government approved these measures through an emergency ordinance, which means it will come into force straight away. However, the new piece of legislation will be discussed by the country’s Parliament at a later date, when it could be approved, modified or rejected altogether. Until then, casino and sportsbook operators will have to adjust their businesses to the new regulations.
The new rules include higher license costs, new rules for advertising, the prohibition of selling alcohol in gaming venues, along with a new requirement which forces all gambling businesses to have a fiscal headquarters in Romania.
The annual fees have gone up to 500,000 euros for online casinos, 200,000 euros for lottery businesses, 50,000 euros for pari-mutuel operations, 200,000 for fixed-odds betting, 4,000 euros per table for land-based casinos and 5,000 per club for brick-and-mortar poker rooms. Bingo games that are organized through television will also have to pay a licensing fee of 500,000 euros per year, while slot machines in land-based venues will carry a fee of 100 euros per machine, going up to 300 euros in 2024 and 500 euros in 2025.
Minimum Capitals Required
Moreover, the government’s emergency ordinance requires operators to hold minimum capitals that can cover the licensing costs. These minimum capitals are set based on the respective company’s total revenue, but will have a base threshold of 1 million euros starting from 2025.
The new rules also establish the destination of the money that will be collected from gambling operators. 70 percent of that revenue will go to the state’s general budget, while the remaining 30 percent will be invested by the state into responsible gambling initiatives.
Operators in Romania will be required to display their license information on all promotional materials and will have to refrain from sending unsolicited emails to their customers. Moreover, billboards containing gambling and sports betting ads will have a maximum size of 35 square meters.
There have been several initiatives to change the gambling laws in Romania in recent years but so far none managed to successfully go through the parliamentary process. When announcing the new emergency ordinance, prime minister Marcel Ciolacu underlined that he won’t be intimidated by the companies in the gambling sector and accused other politicians of having been too receptive to the demands of the industry’s lobbying efforts.
Observers expected the government to sign off on the emergency ordinance yesterday. On Tuesday, prime minister Marcel Ciolacu claimed to not be intimidated by threats from the gaming sector, accusing some politicians in the past of caving into industry lobbying.
Source: “Romania increases online gambling licence fee to €500,000“. iGaming Business. October 6, 2023.