Just like Romania’s terrible roads cause tourists to avoid the country, the state’s gambling laws cause potential investors to flee.
Romania is not one of the world’s top tourist attractions, and this is not because there’s not much to see there. The country has some beautiful historic places and breathtaking scenery, and with everything being so affordable there it seems like a good choice for a holiday destination. But their terrible roads will make you think twice.
Top Gear made Romania’s roads famous when the cast and crew of the popular British television show drove around the capital Bucharest and then started out on an adventure across the mountains, testing the Transfagarasan highway. And even though they declared it “the best road in the world”, Transfagarasan is an exception to the rule.
The truth about Romanian roads is that they are in awful shape and everyone who’s driven across the country can testify to that. Interestingly, the same thing goes for the state’s legislative system.
So what do Romanian gambling laws have in common with the country’s highway system? Let’s find out…
1. They don’t cover all areas
When you’re visiting Romania, you should know that it’s the remote areas that offer the most beautiful scenery. However, these areas are very hard to reach and you usually have to drive on dirt roads to get there.
Just like the highway system doesn’t cover these parts of the country, the state’s gambling legislation has its own vague chapters, like the ones on gambling machines or Romanian poker rooms. When it comes to such venues, the rules are very unclear.
2. They are full of holes
Driving on a Romanian road can be a very bumpy ride. But so is venturing on the local gambling market. The big potholes appearing in the roads every spring, as soon as the snow melts, are similar to the information gaps that make it so difficult for gambling companies to set up online casinos in Romania.
First of all, the National Gambling Office’s (NGO) website doesn’t have an English version. You have to speak Romanian if you want to know how things work around there. If you manage to get past this “minor” impediment, you’ll be surprised to find out some of the information you’re looking for is actually missing.
3. They are not 100% safe
You’d think highways have to be safe, right? Well, not in Romania! Security measures? What are those? You are on your own! Many of the country’s roads don’t have signs or protective walls, not even when the road is steep or when there’s a risk of boulders falling on the highway.
It’s pretty much the same with gambling laws. No one can guarantee you are 100% safe and things can get very weird when you get mixed up with the wrong crowd. Oh sure, there’s the law (vague as it is), but you know what they say: laws are made to be broken. And there’s always the almighty Bribe; that can get you out of all sorts of problems.
4. They cost a lot, yet they are badly built
Poverty is always an excuse for Romania’s dirty hospitals, crumbling buildings, underfinanced educational system and so on. However, the local government somehow manages to find the necessary resources to spend millions of euro on building highways. And this wouldn’t be such a big problem if they were properly built, but most of the time you can see the first cracks appear within just a few months.
Well something similar is happening with on the local gambling market. The NGO was established in 2013, creating well-paid jobs in the public sector for unemployed party members. But the authority hasn’t really done anything useful since. In fact, it has complicated things by disobeying European gambling laws.
5. They lead to a dead end
When driving through Romania, you’ll find yourself hitting a dead and more often than you’d expect. You will be wondering if you took a wrong turn at some point and you will suddenly realize you don’t know where to go next.
This is exactly how online casino operators feel when they try to make their way to the local gambling market. While European gambling laws call for free movement of services, Romanian authorities are demanding that companies move their offices to the country is they want to obtain a license for an online gambling site.
This rule not only breaks European regulations, but has also brought Romania’s online casino industry to a dead end, simply because no operators are willing to meet this unreasonable requirement.
Such similarities probably apply to other domains too, but most of all they show that Romania has a lot of work to do, both on its roads, and on its gambling legislation.