September 6, 2023 3 min read


Romania Implements New Restrictions for the Retail Gambling Sector

Romania’s Senate has passed a new draft bill that would bring a series of changes and restrictions to street gambling and betting venues

At the end of August, the Romanian government initiated a draft legislative proposal that would trigger a number of important changes to the gambling scheme in the country. 

In short, the proposed changes would address the country’s growing budgetary deficit, which is currently at 2.33% of the Gross Domestic Product and projected to reach 6.4% by the end of the year, along with the necessity to further fight off tax evasion, improve gambling regulations, and deter gambling activities on the black market

Now, the Senate has passed a draft bill that would establish a set of stricter rules of operation for Romanian gambling and betting shops. Here is the rundown of the proposed changes.

Limited Gambling Seats, Off City Center Locations & New Licensing Conditions

According to the new bill that was initiated by a group of parliamentarians representing the PSD party and aimed to change OUG 77/2009, licenses for shops that offer legal gambling and betting activities in Romania will be offered proportionally to the size of the population

Namely, the local administrations would need to make sure to issue one license for every 20,000 residents. No licensing permits would be offered in towns with a population under 5,000 residents.

The changes would be applied to all sportsbooks, casinos, and shops offering slot machines. lottery agencies selling their own products would be exempt. 

Plus, operators would also only be allowed to offer 20 gambling seats per single unit, down from 75 at the moment. The same gambling and betting shops will no longer be allowed to operate in city centers. Instead, they would be relocated within a 50-meter (164 feet) limit from city borders. 

They would also be prevented from operating at 300 meters (984 feet) or closer to any buildings designed for religious cults, cultural institutions, schools, campuses, playgrounds, and other educational objectives

Harsh Punishments for Allowing Underage Gambling 

Gambling operators that would allow underage players (under 18) to enter their premises would pay a fine between RON 10,000 and RON 200,000 ($2,164-$43,294) for this misdemeanor

Crossing the line on a second occasion would trigger a license suspension for half a year for operators. Finally, allowing minors to set foot inside their venues for a third time would automatically cancel operators’ licenses

Even more, the operators would not be able to obtain a new license for the following three years.

The Senate’s draft bill will pass through the Chamber of Deputies next, where it will be subject to debate. Provided it would pass through, all gambling and betting shops would be given 60 days to relocate outside city centers after the legislation would be published in the Official Monitor.

At the start of the year, the country’s watchdog voted against gambling and betting advertising as a means of supporting 2022’s draft law

Last July, the Ministry of Finance published a Fiscal Code draft showcasing a 40% tax on casino withdrawals

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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