Government says yes to online gambling and Bingo returns to TV

The authorities reported the establishing of the Gambling National Office and also the return of the Bingo-type games organized via the television networks.

The model, already implemented in many Member States of the European Union that successfully exploit gambling, is the authority of monitoring and reporting in this industry. Thus, this Gambling National Office, a body of the central public administration, is entitled to oversee the gambling activities, to exert technical control, to monitor and supervise the online gambling, to unitarily implement the specific legislation in an everchanging legal context. This would follow the same institutional pattern that is already in use (and with great benefits) in other EU countries.

The Gambling National Office invests in the infrastructure as much as France and Italy do, to monitor the online games. The setting up of this institution, which will assist the gambling sector, comes from the Government intention to bring extra money to the state budget, mainly by banning the unauthorized gambling, by creating the environment required for licensing the online gambling operators and by improving the coordination, cooperation and information exchange among the competent institution, which will all reduce the tax evasion.

Private properties and budget

The institution will report to the Government and have its properties and budget, financed by the state budget from the Government General Secretariate Fund and also from the incentives fund, built for a special destination. The Gambling National Office will have a monthly fund derived from charging 20% out of the paid fines, 20% out of the irrevocable seized and capitalized properties, or 25% from the amounts coming from the benefits to the online games organizers.
The Institution will be managed by a Surveillance Committee, made up of 9 members, 2 executives and 7 non-executives, appointed by the decision of the Prime Minister before April 15. This Office, which will take over some duties and people from the Gambling Commission and the Gambling Department with the Public Finances, will be invested by law with certain powers to request for data and information or for carrying out activities pertinent to any public institution, monitoring authority or economic operator – powers that will become direct or indirect competencies, irrespective of the involvement degree or form. After legislative changes and establishing the Gambling National Office, authorities estimate that the revenue will increase with 87 million lei this year and 117 millions for each of the following five years. It is very likely that the main international actors in the online gambling come and become authorized to operate in Romania, should we take into account the large number of online poker players.

Green light for Bingo on TV

The Government has reversed the decision to ban the broadcast Bingo games, taken last year. Thus, an emergency ordinance that will amend the OUG 77/2009 regarding the gambling organization and exploitation with its further amendments and additions says that such games will be again transmitted on TV. The operators must have a minimum capital of 1 million lei when filing for an organization license.

The TV Bingo games organizers will pay 300,000 lei as an annual license fee and another fee for the authorization of exploitation of 5% of the total amount derived from selling the game tickets, but not less than 500,000 lei.
The gaming means to be used for Bingo will be approved and monitored by the Romanian Office of Legal Metrology. The companies involved in these games will distribute the tickets through at least 48 agencies, one in each county capital and in each Bucharest district.
The Government intends to re-authorize the Bingo games to reject the non-competitive environment and increase the state budget. The State wants them back in the gambling category as regulated games, for the harmonization of the regulating system, to create jobs, to raise the state budget via the payment of license and authorization fees, charges on gambling winnings, tax income paid by the gambling organizers, as well as salary taxes for the employees.

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