June 12, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

Romania’s Ban on Gambling in Small Towns Undergoing Review

The Romanian Supreme Court has ruled that the gambling restrictions imposed on land-based casinos in small towns must undergo a constitutional review

Romania’s Supreme Court has decided that the gambling restrictions imposed on brick-and-mortar casinos in localities with a population below 15,000 should be subject to a constitutional review.

Back in April, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu’s executive order to ban gambling in small towns received the green light from the parliament, when 243 deputies expressed their votes in favor of the legislation. 

The Ban Violates the Bicameral Principle

The ban was supposed to go into effect ten days after the enactment of the law.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court of Cassation and Justice has decided that the respective restrictions should be reviewed by the Constitutional Court of Romania before going into effect as criminal law

Penalties would range between three to 12 months in prison or a fine for operating slot-machine gaming devices that do not feature a municipal license, for gambling venues based in localities with over 15,000 inhabitants

A punishment from six months to three years in prison would also be applied for issuing false population size certificates

The Supreme Court ruled that the gambling restrictions violated the country’s bicameral principle regarding the sanctioning of federal laws since the proposed measures feature intrinsic and extrinsic “constitutional flaws.”

The Supreme Court emphasized the way in which the law failed to establish which Romanian localities would be subject to the law and the way affected venues would have to relocate to other locations.

Additional problems are triggered by the lack of clear instructions on how the regulations should be enforced, with special emphasis on rural areas with limited resources. 

Stakeholders have also brought forward the absence of compensation for local businesses that would suffer from the ban. 

PM Ciolacu, Determined to Protect the Public 

Romania’s government continues to stay committed to stringent gambling regulations, and this is probably best seen in PM Ciolacu’s lobby for the protection of the public’s well-being over economic gains from gambling activities. 

Ciolacu considers the new slot legislation as the most comprehensive action that could stop the exploitation of gambling across 90% of all Romanian localities. 

At the start of April, Cristian-Gabriel Pascu was appointed as the Vice President of the National Gambling Office, despite him not having any gambling or government experience.

The Parliament is still confident that the ban will stand. The government has not proposed any compensation for the 27 licensed operators of betting offices in the country, with names like SuperBet, StanleyBet, and Casa Pariurilor on top of the list.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *