BILANȚUL LEGISLATIV

LEGISLATIVE BALANCE OF 2019 IN THE GAMBLING FIELD by Nicoleta Baragan, Fully qualified lawyer and Loredana Dumitru, Junior lawyer, C.A. LUCA Mihai Catalin

As this year gets to the end, we think it is appropriate to review the most important legislative changes in the gambling field in 2019, the legislative proposals/projects still under debate, as well as the legislative forecasts that have taken shape so far.
Since the beginning of 2019, the gambling industry has been seriously shaken by the entry into force of OUG 114/2018 regarding the establishment of some measures in the field of public investments and of certain fiscal-budgetary measures, the modification and completion of some normative acts and the extension of certain deadlines.
The regulations that followed them were no less effort mobilizing from the gambling organizers.
Law no. 129/2019 for the prevention and money laundering fighting and terrorist financing, as well as for the modification and completion of some normative acts, would bring to the attention of the gambling organizers new legislative aspects, new procedures and new emotions regarding a possible destabilization of the industry’s activity.
Also, the projects on the legislative table throughout this period did not create the comfort of any relaxation from the gambling organizers.
We will continue by performing a brief presentation of the most important legislative changes in the gambling field, this year.
As I mentioned in a previous presentation, OUG 114/2018 was adopted at the end of last year, being published in the Official Gazette on December 29th and has been harshly criticized by the gambling industry, representing the regulation that has certainly triggered the most vocal reaction in the field.
One of the measures that caused the most tumultuous reactions was the establishment, in the content of art. 53 from the Ordinance, of a new tax in what regards the remote gambling organizers provided in OUG no. 77/2009 regarding the gambling organization and operation, in an amount of 2%, applied to the total participation fees collected monthly from the participants in the gambling activities.
According to art. 1 paragraph (3) from Order no. 38 from January 15, 2019 for the approval of the calculation method of the monthly tax provided in art. 53 of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 114/2018 the total participation fees collected monthly are defined as any transfer from the players’ bank account or similar to their gambling accounts on the gambling platform.

LEGISLATIVE BALANCE
LEGISLATIVE BALANCE OF 2019 IN THE GAMBLING FIELD

Apart from this tax, OUG no. 114/2018 also establishes in the contents of art. 58 the contribution due by the organizers to fight the negative effects of gambling, as follows:
(i) licensed organizers of remote gambling from class I – 5,000 euro per year;
(ii) legal entities directly involved in the traditional and distance gambling field licensed in class II – 1,000 euro per year;
(iii) Class III state monopoly distance games – 5,000 euro annually;
(iv) licensed traditional gambling organizers – 1,000 euro per year.
It is very important to point out that this contribution was also included in the previous regulation, being provided for the gambling organizers since 2015. For administrative reasons, the beneficiary of these contributions, the Fund for the prevention of gambling addiction, has never been set up, the gambling organizers being the holders of an obligation that they could not actually fulfill.
Another important change is the increase of the authorization fee for slot machines. According to the new provisions, the fee for the exploitation authorization for each class A slot machine has been increased from 2600 Euro/year to 3600 Euro/year.
The bonus for the full advance payment of the annual operating license fee for both the casinos and poker clubs and for slot-machine gambling was also eliminated.
Some modifications also occurred with regard to the final destination of the special tax provided by the video game operators (VLT).
Another important legislative change is the regulation adopted in July in the matter of money laundering prevention and fighting and terrorism financing – Law no. 129/2019.
Law no. 129/2019 transposes in Romania the provisions of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council from May 20, 2015 regarding the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering or terrorism financing, for the modification of the Regulation (EU) no. 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council and for the abrogation of the Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC.

LEGISLATIVE BALANCE OF 2019 IN THE GAMBLING FIELD
(to be continued in the next edition)