Romania’s gambling industry marches ahead
Romania is a country in Eastern Europe with legal gambling. The country’s gambling industry is estimated to generate over €1 billion per year. Romania’s gambling climate can be described as very favorable: there are over 20 fully equipped casinos spread throughout the country, featuring table games, slots, video poker and other popular games. However, the total number of land-based venues where the Romanians can gamble, bet or try their luck goes to over 30,000. According to a local newspaper Libertatea, which based its report on data from the National Statistics Institute, there are 15,000 gambling halls in Romania where people can play electronic slot machine games, 13,400 betting agencies, and 1,900 lotto agencies.
The size of. The largest gambling city in Romania is Bucharest with 9 gambling facilities, 24 table games, 626 gaming, slot, and video poker machines.
Planet Princess Slot Casino is the largest of casino in the country, and it offers a wide range of gaming options: around 300 slot machines and many gaming tables. The second-biggest casino is Grand Casino Bucharest at JW Marriott Bucharest, which has about 18 gaming tables and 159 gaming and video poker machines.
It is believed that land-based casinos have been functioning for over a century in Romania. Prior to casinos, the Compania Națională Loteria Română was established in 1906 to generate funds for the government’s coffers. In 1910, the casino Constanta was opened for attracting more funds from wealthy citizens and foreigners. This casino became quite famous, – even the Russian emperor and his family visited it in 1914.
Poker is an extremely popular gambling activity in Romania. Several casinos and poker clubs offer poker games. Online poker also has a strong following. Full Tilt and PokerStars are some of the largest online poker brands holding a Romanian license.
Many Romanians are fond of sports betting and prefer to wager on football, basketball, tennis, handball, and rugby both offline and online.
Gambling legal scene
Gambling was prohibited at the time of the Communist rule, but after it ended in Romania in 1989, the prohibition was annulled, and new gambling facilities started opening in the country. However, there were no laws in effect to regulate the gambling industry, and many operators took advantage of the situation by operating without paying any form of taxes or fees. In fact, the state-owned operator Națională Loteria Română (National Company for Romanian Lottery) is known to have been involved in a scandal, as it operated a few slot machines without a license and paying taxes.
This situation largely remained unchanged until January 1, 2007, when the country joined the European Union, and then it had to follow the EU requirements to implement proper regulation of land-based and online gambling facilities. In 2010, regulations and taxation were introduced to both land-based and online gambling facilities. In April 2013, the Romanian National Gambling Office was founded as the sole gambling regulatory authority in Romania overseeing land-based and online gambling.
In an attempt to liberalize the Romanian gaming market even more and make it more attractive for foreign operators, in 20015 Romanian lawmakers introduced overhauled gambling regulations. They abolished the requirement for online gambling operators to have land-based facilities and removed taxation on every individual poker wager on the Internet.
The new legislation introduced a 16-percent tax but not less then €100,000 applied annually on online operators’ GGR.
Online operators seeking licenses under the country’s new online gambling regime were also ordered to pay a retroactive 20% taxon their total GGR received for five years from 2009 to 2014 while operating without paying taxes. This measure led to a 71% year-on-year increase in collected tax proceeds from gambling operators, – €269 million in 2015 as opposed to €157 million posted for 2014.
For land-based gambling, there is a license tax, which is applied as an annual flat fee, and the fee amount depends on the type of land-based games, which may vary from € 5,000 a year (in the case of Tombola or Poker clubs) to 95,000 a year for land-based casinos.
Also, there is an authorization tax for land-based casinos is paid annually and its application is based on the operator’s revenue and the number of locations.
- Operator’s revenue: in case of bingo and betting, the authorization tax is 16% of an operator’s revenue, but it cannot be less than a certain amount, which varies according to the game type. For example, it is € 90,000 for betting and €115,000 for televised bingo.
- A number of locations/gaming facilities: land-based casinos in Bucharest are charged € 60,000 per table as the authorization tax, and € 30,000 per table for locations outside of Bucharest. Slot machines with unlimited winnings are taxed € 3,600 per facility; bingo -€ 7,000 per facility.
In addition, land-based gambling establishments have to pay € EUR 1,000 per year as a contribution to the fund for preventing gambling addiction.
For online gambling, the amount of the license tax is applied in proportion with an operator’s turnover. For example, € 6,000 is imposed on an annual turnover of less than € 500,000 and up to € EUR 120,000 for turnover exceeding € 10,000,000.
The authorization tax for online gambling is now 16% of an operator’s GGR but not less than € 100,000 a year.
Also, € 5000 annual contribution is paid to the addiction prevention fund.
At the end of 2018, the Romanian government introduced an additional 2% monthly gambling tax for online operators, known as a “turnover tax” or a “gambling participation fee”.
In gambling, a “turnover” is the amount of money a player wagers.
Initially, Romanian lawmakers promulgated that online gambling websites operating in the country would have to pay a 2% tax fee on all turnover. However just a few weeks later, the government changed its stance by shifting this tax burden onto Romanian online players and requiring them to pay a 2% fee on the deposits they make on gaming websites.
Although some major online gambling sites in the country are already imposing the new tax fee on deposits, not every operator follows the law.
According to a report by the Romanian gambling authority, over 27 different gambling sites have failed to pay the required government fees. There are still quite a large number of sites that operate without a license in Romania.
Would you like to learn more about gambling in other European countries, please see the following: