Interview given by Anchidim Zăgrean
Personality of the Year 2021 in the Gambling Industry and President of Rombet association
How was the year 2021, in the vision of the winner of the “Personality of the Year 2021 in the Gambling Industry” Grand Award?
My answer could start with the end of the question, in the sense that apparently it was a good year for me, if we reduce the whole year only to the designation of the winners of the magazine’s awards in 2021 and we do not look at this year as a whole. But if we look in depth this year, from the perspective of gambling, we can not help but notice that, at least for the organizers of traditional gambling, it was a disastrous year, with the most difficult moments ever experienced, in the exploitation of the activity, doubled of a total uncertainty regarding the present but especially the future and the collapse of any hopes of recovering the losses caused by the restrictions imposed by the state but also possible consequences of a bankruptcy almost impossible to avoid. It was the year in which, through the 12 articles published in Casino Life & Business Magazine, I tried to be permanently with our members, but not only, both by expressing opinions on the practical activity that can be adapted to these conditions, but especially with many suggestions for normal behavior in solving certain serious problems that have arisen as a result of restrictions imposed on gambling activity. I have taken part to numerous meetings with government officials to ask them not to apply different treatment in the measures they will take, in support of all affected economic operators, not to be discriminatory and especially not to consider it normal. the fact that the organizers of traditional gambling must bear the economic consequences of the restrictive measures adopted by the state alone. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, from everything that has happened since then, and from the constant hostile behavior of society towards this activity, it has become very clear that traditional gambling has become the black sheep of the economy and that it is good only for otherwise everyone has to do their best and bear all the negative consequences of measures that they cannot influence because others have imposed them.
Through the opinions expressed or the positions taken, in 2021, I tried to express Rombet’s position in the context of events and new restrictive conditions that appeared in the activity of gambling organizers such as: taxation and specific fiscal procedure; certain general tax facilities but also applicable to gambling; honesty, responsibility and transparency in gambling activity; the practice of bonuses in the gambling activity in Romania; the system of special taxes in the gambling activity in Romania; the activity of traditional gambling, during the alert state, in the context of the current national regulations; recalculation and adjustment of special charges, during the alert period, in the context of European and national regulations; the practice of operative and unexpected or thematic control in the activity of gambling.
How did Rombet work last year?
The Rombet Association, through its representatives Dan Alexandru Ghiță, Anchidim Zăgrean, Bogdan Coman, Dan Iliovici and Narcisa Matei, was particularly active in 2021, managing to materialize and put into practice the provisions of the statute regarding its status. the support and support it must provide on a regular basis to its members through all means of communication and correspondence.
I would like to remind you that in 2021 President Rombet Dan Alexandru Ghiță joined the ONJN leadership, with the stated desire from the beginning to support, from the position of Chief of Staff of the President, the complete revision of the special regulations in the field of gambling, with the aim of integrating the constitutional principle regarding the quality of the laws, with a special emphasis on precision, predictability, clarity but also with a norm that will ensure the ease of understanding the purpose, which must be achieved, in their application. It should also be borne in mind that the special regulation of gambling must take into account the official documents of the EU bodies on compliance with the following objectives: 1. compliance of national regulations with EU law; 2. stepping up administrative cooperation and effective enforcement of measures; 3. protection of consumers and citizens, minors and vulnerable groups; 4. prevention of fraud and money laundering; 5. ensuring integrity in sport and preventing arranged matches. In the next period we will see if these desideratum materialize and especially if these projects have been appropriated by the ONJN management.
Rombet Vice President Dan Iliovici also had a notable activity in 2021, both in terms of the monthly publication in Casino Life & Business Magazine of articles dedicated to responsible gaming, but also as a moderator or speaker at conferences, debates or organized events. in the country or abroad.
In his usual note, the executive director of Rombet Bogdan Coman, seconded by Narcisa Matei, was in constant contact with the members of the association providing them with communications on industry news or on the behavior of gambling organizers, especially in the current context of restrictions and restrictive conditions imposed by the state. Like Vice President Dan Iliovici and Bogdan Coman, he participated as a moderator or speaker in conferences, debates or events organized in the country or abroad. It should also be mentioned here that Bogdan was the one who successfully collaborated and correlated Rombet’s actions with the other associations, with the ONJN as well as with other private organizations as well as with other state institutions.
I cannot fail to mention the fact that the vast majority of our members, although they had special problems in maintaining and carrying out their activity, due to the restrictions of some fundamental economic rights and freedoms, supported us financially unconditionally and thus made possible the normal functioning of to our association, which is why we thank them and are grateful.
What was the public perception, in the year of the pandemic 2021, towards gambling?
During this difficult period for this activity, there was no support from the state, the gambling industry was left with only promises, following meetings over time and even if no help was ever requested from the state. part of the state but only a fair and non-discriminatory behavior towards other economic activities, given that everyone knows that gambling is also a service activity but with a special regulation. However, gambling has always been on the lips of politicians, media and sometimes even government officials in the sense of criticizing the measures taken and the fact that this activity has not been banned. We will never understand where this behavioral impulse to stigmatize a legal activity comes from, without serious negative consequences, proven by evidence, on society but only with some negative consequences imagined or gleaned from the folklore or imagination of some who do not know this activity. they did nothing to know, document this activity). These reactions appear more and more often in the media, although the representatives of the professional associations have done nothing but ask for a review and clarification of the taxation of this activity, especially regarding the payment of taxes in advance (which is now done blindly, without knowing if the state does not intervene later in their activity with restrictions or even closure of activity, this being, in our opinion, an outlaw-like behavior). We have permanently requested a correlation of the taxes owed by the state, by the organizers of gambling, with the level of the realized income, in this way any tax receivable due to be in accordance with the level of the activity carried out, regardless of the established restrictions.
But what was the behavior of the authorities in 2021?
Here a clear distinction must be made regarding the behavior of the authorities, in the sense that the representatives of the ONJN were with the associations and accompanied their delegations to all meetings with responsible decision makers but unfortunately without any concrete positive results, part of this behavior being found. in answer to the previous question.
What are Rombet’s plans for 2022 and the chances for their realization?
I think that the priority, for Rombet, is the materialization of some projects, common to all associations, of reviewing, improving and completing the special regulations of gambling, whether we are talking about those regarding the main norm, the secondary norm or the tertiary norm. If we are talking about the main or secondary rule, our aim is to agree with all the internal and EU principles and rules as they are found in the answer to the first question. Then, if we talk about the tertiary norm, it must be said that, for the application and implementation of the provisions of the main or secondary norms, the monitoring, supervision and control body (National Office for Gambling – ONJN), it is necessary to develop and implement, through specific rules, a framework for regulating and supervising the supply and consumption of traditional and remote gambling, provided that the principles regarding: the protection of minors and the prevention of their access to these types of gambling are respected; ensuring the integrity and transparency of the operations carried out by and through the organizers of such games of chance, as well as a fair gaming system, constantly supervised and verified from the point of view of security and correctness of the activities carried out; preventing and combating criminal activities that can be carried out through these types of games of chance; ensuring a balanced and equitable development of the various types of gambling, in order to avoid destabilizing the economic sectors concerned; implementation of a continuous process of updating the regulations in this field of activity, in order to reduce and limit possible vulnerabilities of this economic sector to potential criminal activities, as well as to reduce the exposure to the risk of money laundering and financing of acts of terrorism, tax fraud, cybercrime, as well as the prevention of crimes against public order, national security and public health; developing and implementing a gambling protection program against gambling addiction.
Then equally important would be the adoption and implementation of an Order of the President of the Office, as provided in art. 52 of GEO 20/2013, where to be clearly established and without the possibility of arbitrary interpretation, the control procedure, in order to correlate the main or secondary norm with other incidental legal provisions.
We also hope that all existing profile associations will join the Romanian Gambling Federation in 2022, with the common goal of acting to support and unite the representation of all Romanian gambling organizers in relation to private bodies or both national and international state. As for the chances of success … it remains to be seen … since we are active in the field of gambling, and the chances are equal … but dependent on chance … right?
In conclusion, a sincere Happy New Year and especially … money … to be recovered from previous losses, for all readers of the magazine!