Online Gaming in Romania

Romania has an online gaming regulatory framework in place, though there are still questions as to its validity under European law.

For a foreign operator to gain a Romanian license, it needs a subsidiary business in Romania. Foreign operators can have servers and other gaming equipment located outside Romania as long as the operator is licensed in another EU member state and such equipment can be monitored effectively from Romania. Operators (excluding lottery, sports betting and bingo) need to make a security deposit (guarantee fund) of 1 million lei to get a license.

The annual license fee for online fixed-odds betting is 100,000 lei. The licensing fee for online bingo is 100,000 lei. The annual licensing fee for other online gambling providers, except for lottery or mutual bets, is 400,000 lei. In addition to the licensing fees, operators will be charged an annual authorization fee.

The road to Romania's current online regulatory structure dates back to 2010, when Romania drafted regulations that the European Commission (EC) stated were not compliant with EU law. The opinion extended the standstill period until 3 November 2010, at which point Romania was required to amend the legislation according to the EC's response.

On 24 December 2010, the EU rejected the second-draft legislation and regulatory framework submitted by Romania. The reason behind the rejection was that a large number of provisions again were not compatible with EU laws. The issues in the first draft were not removed from the second draft. Some provisions not meeting EU requirements were that all EU-licensed online casinos, sportsbooks and poker sites were to be established in Romania, and only partners of large shareholders of Romanian land-based casinos were to be allowed to apply for an online gaming license. Since all major shareholders and partners in land-based casinos are native Romanians, it would make it extremely difficult for EU businesses to qualify for an online gaming license.

Romania's parliament eventually voted in favor of a newly amended online gambling bill. The bill passed the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and won the approval of the Senate in late November 2010. By February 2011, all the tools were to be in place to begin the licensing process for the gaming operator chosen by the state monopoly, Loteria Romana, for its online platform.

There were a couple of other tweaks in the new legislation. Roulette games must be broadcast live from Romanian casinos and bingo draws from authorized locations within Romania. Additional highlights include Romanian players gaining permission to play in shared liquidity tournaments with non-Romanian customers and the possibility of private companies assisting the Finance Ministry with monitoring the online market.

In late 2014, ordinance GEO 92/2014 was approved, which would allow legal EU entities to obtain a license and offer online gaming to Romanian citizens.

Romania issued its first licenses in July 2015 and immediately published a "blacklist" of close to 50 sites the government deemed in violation of the country's new regulations. In October 2015, Romania added bet365, the largest operator in Europe, to its blacklist, even though bet365 had stopped accepting Romanian customers a year earlier.

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