Romania has been working towards the regulation of online gambling and sports betting for several months. Initial drafts of the new Romanian gambling laws submitted to the European Commission were rejected on several grounds, but changes have since been made in response to the EC’s criticisms, and the new laws are set to be promulgated by the Romanian president.
The EC rejected the first drafts because the proposed laws demanded too much from operators. The changes that were made are quite dramatic, and the new rules are much fairer.
One of the biggest changes is that operators are no longer required to locate their servers on Romanian soil, but may operate out of any EU Member State. Operators will, however, be required to connect their computers to a central system operated by Romanian authorities. All online gambling sites not explicitly licensed by Romanian regulators will be considered illegal.
All fees and financial requirements have been lowered in the final draft. The required funds held by operators as security has been reduced from 4 million lei (€930,000) to 1 million lei (€230,000). All license fees have been reduced by fifty percent. For sports betting and internet bingo in Romania the fee is 100,000 lei (€23,000). The fee for online casino operators is considerably higher, at 400,000 lei (€93,000) annually.
Not all internet gambling in Romania will be liberalized. The current gambling monopoly Loteria Romana will remain intact, and will maintain control of online lotteries and pari-mutuel betting.
This final draft passed 171 to 1 in the Chamber of Deputies, and will be enacted soon. It is not clear when the government will begin issuing licenses, but Romanians should see big changes happening during the next few months.