Betting experts in Romania are stepping up their game, to convince authorities to adopt better gambling regulations.
The gambling industry in Romania has a new ally. Rombet is a newly-formed betting organization that has one purpose: to represent the interests of local gambling businesses. Launched only a few weeks ago, the company has already drawn a lot of attention from both industry experts and local authorities.
Rombet will be led by former National Lottery chief Dan Alexandru Ghita. The country’s betting industry is often surrounded by controversy, but Ghita is determined to change the face of gambling in Romania.
At the launching ceremony, the director told reporters and to all those invited: “More transparency is needed in this industry which represents over half a billion euros of the Romanian economy, year by year. We also need a more structured dialogue between companies operating in this industry, regardless of their size. We have to establish some standards and principles outside of the legal system, which of course is also extremely important.”
Working together towards growth
It is estimated that Romania’s gambling market generates approximately 0.8 % of the state’s total budget. The industry employs between 30,000 and 40,000 people and is worth more than EUR 500 million a year. This being said, the organization has certainly managed to spark some interest.
Along with industry experts and businessmen, representatives of the National Gambling Office and politicians showed up at the launching conference.
Alexandru Ghita, president of Rombet, has been working in the gambling industry since 1998. According to his online CV, he studied at the University of Economic Studies in Bucharest.
Ghita was marketing and sales manager and general manager for Galaxy Games for several years. In 2012, he was put in charge of the Romanian State Lottery.
“Promoting responsible gambling is among the main objectives of our new organization. I’m glad that there are many professionals working in this field,” said Odeta Nestor, president of the National Gambling Office.
Deputy Daniel Florea, a member of the Judicial Commission in the Chamber of Deputies, was also there. Florea said that companies and lawmakers should work together more closely and that Rombet could help achieve this goal. The deputy added that industry experts and authorities should exchange ideas and insights on how to help businesses grow, while protecting vulnerable players at the same time.
The Judicial Commission is directly responsible for establishing rules and regulations for the gambling industry, so Florea’s presence at the event was much appreciated, along with his speech. However, words are not enough to put things on the right track, as some businessmen pointed out, adding that the current Romanian gambling laws
are not clear or supportive enough to help the industry grow.
Unexploited growth potential
The local gambling industry has to deal with a number of problems – including the huge 25% tax on all profits – which slow things down and make it difficult for businesses to develop. No other European country has such a harsh taxing policy and experts say this is a major disadvantage for the local market, as well as for the state. One of the downsides is that local operators can’t afford to host tournaments or any other big events aimed at tourists who like to gamble.
Internet gambling is another controversial topic and experts have pointed out that the state is missing out on a great opportunity to make some extra cash by regulating online casinos in Romania. According to Mihai Manoila, an online gambling specialist, Romania is at the very bottom of the list, in Europe’s online market.
“Bulgaria already has a few licensed operators,” he pointed out.
Participants also talked about the prejudices which slow down the development of the casino market. “In the UK, the gambling industry is the fifth largest contributor to the state’s budget”, local business owner Marian Alecu said. “In Romania, it’s like a grey area, almost as if it were a mafia. I don’t think the local market is not properly fiscalized or that it’s less respectable; I just think it’s less transparent.”
People working in the gambling industry are putting all of their hope in Rombet. If the organization succeeds in convincing politicians to improve the current system and adopt better laws, this might help local gambling businesses grow.