The National Office for Gambling is a specialized body of central public administration, with legal personality, subordinated to the Romanian Government, established by Ordinance No. 20 / 27.03.2013, approved by Law no. 227 / 19.07.2013 which functions in accordance with (G.O) HG nr.298 / 29.05.2013, as amended by G.O no644 / 08.28.2013.
The National Office for Gambling was established in April 2013, creating, thus, prerequisites for a strong and stable industry, the gambling industry in Romania. An industry that produces considerable profits, an important industry at social level,an efficcient regulated industry. Through the creation of the office, the Romanian government passed on a European principle that enables unique management of the gambling activities in our country, marking the first time the authorization, supervision and monitoring of gambling are made by one institution.
Since the first year of operation, through an active communications strategy with the market, but also through the implementation of the fundamental principles we follow in our activity: legality, impartiality and availability, we have achieved the most important goal, namely creating one honest and transparent environment for conducting gambling activities. In terms of legislation, measures have been approved which are recognized throughout the EU, which made Romania one of the most regulated markets in the region. The legislative operation framework was completed with the implementation of new measures on online gambling, clear and transparent regulations which provide operators with a secure business environment and ensure they develop a business of the future in Romania and for Romanian players with a legal framework for gaming.
National Office for Gambling collected in 2015 from the license fees and gambling permits granted by types of activities the amount 1,18 billion lei (269.3 million euros). In comparison, in 2014 state budget revenues from gambling were 157 million euro.
In Romania there have been, since September 2016, 547 operators in the gambling segment. Regarding the online gambling segment, 23 operators have applied for the right to operate in 2015, three of them have lost this right so that there are now 19 operators of online gambling. Eleven of these operators have obtained definite license for the class, valid for 10 years. Concerning Clas II License, there are 215 licensed operators. If we get into details with the number of class I organizers, we have 278 slot machine operators, 28 operators for fixed odds betting, 9 for bingo, 9 for poker and 8 for casinos.
The National Office for Gambling will regularly review its policies on licensing, regulation and on any reporting deemed necessary. Morality, respect for the players, respect for the law, should be the main desideratums of the organizers of gambling. We are confident that through our work and with the support from gambling operators, differences between Romanian and foreign gambling will soon fade.
The main objective of the National Office for Gambling is that the market of gambling in Romania becomes a model at European level and becomes one of the best regulated markets, both for the organizers and for the players, a market with specific measures against gambling addiction and abreast with the latest trends and innovations in what the game means are concerned.
European tendencies are targeting online operators to get them be open to online environment and the opening of national markets. In terms of regulation of the gambling market, we can specify that Romania is among the first Eastern European countries that have defined the gambling legislation, with the purpose of opening the market to international operators of online gambling.
The current regulation of gambling in Romania
Regulating gambling in our country is made through GEO 77/2009 on the organization and operation of gambling, which was amended by GEO 92/2014 on regulating fiscal and budgetary measures and amending some laws, approved by Law 124/2015 approving Government emergency Ordinance no.92 / 2014 for the regulation of certain fiscal budget measures and amending some laws. Legislative changes made lately took into account the establishment and uniform application of specific legislation, in the context of the changes in gambling following the institutional model successfully implemented by other EU countries.
The structure of the office relates to the three main components of the gambling activities: authorization, supervision and monitoring of gambling. General criteria for the monitoring of gambling are designed and supervised by the Supervisory Committee of O.N.J.N. a deliberative and decision-making structure in Romanian gambling. Also, for the proper organization and operation of the Office and for the improvement of the activity of the Supervisory Committee, it has been established an advisory board of business people from gambling, which has the opportunity to inform the authority on issues related to the related area.
At last but not least, the creation and operation of the Office rules were based on the experience of European states with tradition in this area, France, England, Italy, Malta, which we have collaboration agreements with for exchange of information and best practices. Thus,we managed harmonizing national legislation with EU norms.In just a few years,we have built a responsible and mature industry in our country based on an efficient operation in all sectors: tax revenue, prevention of illicit acts and the establishment of measures to be taken to protect minors and vulnerable groups facing gambling addiction.
II. Organization and management of O.N.J.N.
Cristinela Odeta NESTOR – President of theNational Office for Gambling
Supervisory Committee – 8 members
General Directorate of Supervision and Control
General Directorate for Gambling Authorization
General Directorate for Informatics and Gambling Monitoring
General Directorate for Management
The main coordinates which the National Office for Gambling focuses its efforts on are based on the following objectives:
1. The right to organize and operate gambling in Romania;
2. monitoring and control of gambling in Romania;
3. increase state budget revenues, especially by preventing and combating unauthorized gambling and creating the necessary framework for authorizing operators of online gambling;
4. Ensuring a legal business environment;
5. improving coordination, collaboration and exchange of information between competent institutions in the field of tax evasion, focusing on economic crime in the sphere of gambling;
6. efficient control operation activities in order to reduce the risk of manifestation of violation of strategies, policies, programs and plans of the National Office for Gambling;
7. protection of minors or other vulnerable groups in terms of social and economic, in order to avoid developing addiction to gambling.
A prerequisite in achieving the objectives of public policy in the field of gambling is the need for effective implementation of national legislation, which depends, in turn, on the existence of a sound organizational structure and on complete competencies of the national authority in the field of gambling, on appropriate administrative cooperation with other regulators and on the availability of appropriate implementation tools.
Office principles that are taken into account in its activity are:
• legality – a principle involving fulfillment in good faith of the powers conferred by the legislation of establishment, organization and functioning of the Office as the competent authority in the field of gambling;
• proportionality, principle aimed at adapting the menas of action neccessary for the implememntation of gambling strategy to set objectives and allocated resources;
• principle of participation and transparency: non-governmental organizations, the private sector, through the Advisory Council of the Office, local authorities and international institutions contribute to strategy implementation; Civil society is consulted and informed of the planned actions;
• principle of responsibility: planning directions for action is a process geared towards achieving results. Liability exists at all levels of the institutions involved in implementing the strategy and, in particular, in all structures of Office;
• The principle of cooperation and coherence: The Office, as issuer and principal actor of the strategy implementation, will cooperate with other public institutions, similar foreign bodies and other civil society organizations interested in or affected by a particular initiative in the light of their representativeness at specific business level, thus ensuring a coherent conception of the objectives to be fulfilled and the measures to be taken.
IV. FINANCIAL DATA
In 2015 taxes were levied amounting to 1.7 billion lei (about 380 million euros), these amounts are exclusive of taxes gambling (online and traditional). TotThese amounts are added taxes from the salaries of 40,000 employees in the field, the social security budget, which means 286 million lei (63 million euros). Also,there are observed increases after multiplying control activities of companies, compared to previous years, when these activities were not carried out by the Office. For example, compared to 2012, we have an increase of 27,4% in 2014 and 56% in 2015.
State budget revenues – Financial data from the Ministry of Finance are as follows:
– 1,7 billion lei (380 million euros) in taxes from traditional and online gambling
– 286 million lei (63 million euros) in taxes from the salaries of 40,000 employees in the field
– 5% from the licensing and authorization fee plus access charges – allocated from the state budget to finance cultural, educational, sports activities.
In Romania, the gambling industry needs better campaigns to promote responsible and fair gambling. Gambling world is not perceived correctly, is seen as depending only on luck, not taking into account that gambling also requires intelligence, strategy, memory and good intuition. Economic operators in the market are able to make known all these things by promoting their image campaigns. Romania has a huge potential to develop one of the most solid European gambling markets. Because the usefulness of promoting new regulations externally is obvious, we have taken all reasonable steps towards a better visibility and therefore, our representatives have been present at a number of traditional events in gambling which have a special importance among industry representatives. During these events, the National Office for Gambling received positive signals in that both major operators, suppliers, testing laboratories, in few word, representatives from all branches of theindustry, welcomed the initiative of the Romanian state to adapt to market realities and expressed their willingness to get license in Romania.