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Romania – Romania to launch online gaming authority

By - 5 April 2013

As it looks to regulate online gaming, Romania has developed a regulating body called The National Gambling Office (NGO) which is charged with the task of leading Romania’s internet gambling program.

Coming to power on April 15, the office will look to move online legislation, approved in December 2010, into effect.

Interested companies will be invited to apply for internet operating licenses as soon the NGO is officially launched. The path to the launch of a new online sector will not be easy though as the European Union has already rejected proposals for Romania’s non-compliance with EU law.

Original editions of the proposed legislation saw tax added to every wager placed. Recent rewrites have seen a tax system proposed for internet poker focussing on taxing Gross Gaming Revenue rather than the amount bet.

Two years ago the European Commission issued a warning to Romania for the second time, regarding its reforms to online gambling legislation.

The Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Sigrid Ligné, said back then: “The European Commission has now confirmed its assessment according to which the Romanian law is in breach of EU law. This should bring the Romanian authorities to urgently and substantially redraft their legislation in accordance with EU rules. Romania is otherwise running the risk to face the launch of an infringement proceeding by the European Commission.”

The European Commission’s concerns were backed up by companies in Malta and the UK.Analysts believe it is doubtful that the amendments will have been changed satisfactorily to hurdle all the EU Commission concerns.

The legislation pieced together in 2010 places criminal charges of a maximum of two years in prison against any player partaking in play on an unlicensed site.

The legislation also demands that any licensed operating company must be legally head-quartered in Romania. It is expected that only the most cash-rich of gaming operators will invest in securing licenses due to legislative and restrictions in market size.

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