(presents the events from calendar year 2015 and reflects the data collected until 2015 December 31)

Table:

The message of Gambling National Office President
General considerations:
New legislative regulations
2015 on a glance
Authorization and Licensing
Supervision and Control
Computerization and Monitoring

The Message of Gambling National Office President

2015 has represented for Gambling National Office the establishment for a strong a stable industry premises.
In the same way, the next year will also represent a transition to a European, modern, efficient, correct regulated gambling market and will also represent the year when we will make all the efforts so all the gambling operators who have been present in a way or another on the Romanian market, to become totally legal.
We wish that gambling market in Romania to become a model la European level, to become one of the best regulated markets, both for operators and players, an active and responsible market, capable to generate trust through specific measures against gambling addiction and following the last trends and innovations in gambling capacities.
We totally understand the importance of this industry because we are talking about a sector which generates not only important profits, but also a major social impact. That’s why it is essential to create efficient regulations to stimulate the industry and not to stop the evolution.
There is very important to treat the subject with responsibility.
More than a adequate and coherent legislative frame, Romanian gambling market needs also a changing image strategy. Because we have to be honest: gambling has never had a good image in terms of public perception. Changing the perceptions and the mentality will be possible only if the state will insure a correct, transparent and competitive legislative frame, the operators will offer quality services in report with the specific of Romanian market and if the the players will have a responsible and weighted behavior.
The common efforts can bring us more than we can do in a separate way.
We are only at the beginning of a way and we have to be conscience that there are so many challenges. If would be to compare our self with other states and with their experience in the area, we only have made the first step. The first step from a long journey. But I have the trust that we are going in the right direction and that we will achieve the results we want to achieve.

General Considerations

Establishing Gambling National Office has created the premises to develop a strong and stable industry. We all know which the Romanian gambling problems are: a poor legislation, operating gambling without a license, economic crises and thse are only some few factors which continue to affect this area.

In Romania, gambling industry has never been the beneficiary of an adequate promotion and this contribute at the general perception. We are dealing with a very complex market which needs attention and responsibility. The issues created by a potential addiction and minors and consumers protection, in general, are very sensitive problems we have to work with. Gambling sector is not only about luck, but involves a vision, strategy, memory and intelligence. There is a lot to improve in public image.
Another issue is to align the national legislation with European Union regulation. In this respect, we have discussed with organisms with attributions in gambling industry from the member states in order to put the bases of a partnership in changing information and good practices.
We also have consulted gambling market representatives. The discussion started with the members of Consultative Council of gambling businessmen have been started exactly because there is a need to have a equity between demand and the market expectations and Romanian legislative frame. During these discussions, there have been heard some points of view and proposals, applicable or not and have been analyzed the opportunity to put in practice every one of them. But these meetings have helped us to create a bridge, a common working base with the most important factors from the regulated market. Even the operators from RGA (Remote gambling Association), through their representatives in Consultative Council have shown the interest in supporting the new legislation in the area (http://www.casino-magazine.ro/rga-saluta-oportunitatile-pe-care-le-va-oferi-piata-romaneasca.html).
Because the necessity to promote the new regulations outside the country is obvious, we have tried to be as visible possible and that’s why our institution representatives have been present to some events with tradition in gambling, events which are having a major importance in the industry (European Forum in Online Gambling C5, ICE Totally Gaming 2015). During these events, he have got some positive signals from major operators, suppliers lab tests, in one word, all the industry branches have welcomed our initiative to understand tha market realities and express their intentions to take a license in Romania.
With an eye on socio-economic, legislative and technical challenges of this specific area, we consider that there is very important to adopt and implement these initiatives, measures and relevant politics to fight with these negative factors. The Office will regularly review its politics about authorization, regulation, reporting and any other issue considered necessary.
In the same way, like 2015, morality, respect for the players and respect for the law should be the major goals for the serious gambling operators in 2016.
We are positive that our activity and with the support of gambling operators the differences between Romanian gambling and foreign gambling will soon become less visible.

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New legislative regulations

Considering the need to reposition land-based gambling and online gambling development dynamic (in principal, the technical development), Romanian Government has approved O.U.G. no 92/2014.
Until the moment when OUG no 92/2014 has appeared, the situation of gambling market has proven the necessity of adopting some improvements to better respond in front of a socio-economical reality and in fron of the specific situation existed in this extremely active area.
By modifying the legislation, there have been regulated gambling taxation on some categories and other suppliers involved in the area (software suppliers, auditors), the conditions regarding the licensing of economic operators with role in supervising and reporting in online gambling, other gambling categories have been introduced (online bets, poker festivals, temporary gambling) and the most important thing, it has been eliminated the withholding tax (25% from the players incoming) and other taxation models have been introduced considering the specific of every kind of gambling
A very important decision for the operators in online gambling has been the changing of the taxation model of the incomes, meaning that the taxation will be applied progressively considering the gross income from gambling, also called – gross gambling revenue (GGR).
The experience proved by countries like Great Britain, Malta, Italy, France, countries with a very advanced legislative system in gambling, has helped us to create, according with the Romanian market specific, a new high standard regulated market for online gambling capable to respond to the necessity of having an organized and supervised market with accent on the minor protection and measures to prevent gambling addiction, but to stay attractive for serious gambling operators who are interested to extend the business in Romania.
On June 2015, by adopting OUG no 92/2014 through Law 124/2015, a series of novelties have been brought from its initial aspect. In this respect, through an amendment pun on the list during the Parliament debates, the gambling legislation has accepted for the operators a 90 days grace period (fiscal and criminal amnesty) to pay the taxes. Once the law has been adopted and published in Official Monitor, the amnesty period has started with deadline on 10th September 2015. A “penalty tax” has been established and the gambling operators interested to invest in Romanian market have had the chance to resolve all the tax problems and stay legal, with all the debts paid (not retroactive, as has been discussed before) for the period thy have operated in Romania.
We want to underline that this amnesty has come to support the operators who wants to work in legality and also, as a way to eliminate the fiscal and criminal responsibilities for the state budget taxes. There is a measure applied strictly on the period incriminated by the law, a period when some operators have worked without paying taxes for gambling activity in Romania. After this deadline, the access to the gambling domains and the affiliated domains which are not legally regulated will be restricted. In this way, under the law conditions, a criminal and fiscal action has been replaced for a determined period of time with another action. After this, for those operators who didn’t want to benefit from this legal facility, have been started all the legal procedures.
Once, the OUG no. 92/2014 and Law no 124/2015 will be approved and the secondary legislation to detail the application conditions will be adopted, we can say that 2016 will represent an important step for a gambling market – modern, efficient correct and regulated at the European level.

2015 at a glance

Achieved Results 2015
Authorizations, licenses 1.187.747.655 lei
Fines 8.245.500 lei
Penalities 263.477.776 lei
Carried out controls (national level) 8.624

Authorization and licensing (2015)

Incomings from licensing taxes and from gambling authorizations granted for 2015 on activities types are the followings:

grafic 1

GAMING TAXES TOTAL for 488 economic operators:
1.187.747.655 lei
(269.373.292 euro)

In addition with gambling licensing and authorization activity, it has been established a Commission to review the files for temporary authorization in traditional gambling, a Commission to review the files for temporary authorization in organizing and operating online gambling. There have been analyzed and have been approved 23 files that got the right to organize and operate online gambling.
Also, for 19 operators, there have been established penalties (licensing taxes/authorization) to exonerate the fiscal and criminal responsibility according with legislation for online gambling.

Supervising and Control (2015)

The General Authority for Supervising and Control is one of the most important pieces from the Office activity acting both in economic operators supervising area and in the same time, performing the control of the way these operators are working in respect with the law.

Supervising and control activity in 2015 Results

The major indicators to reflect the General Authority for Supervising and Control, activity in 2015.

supraveghere

The indicators mentioned above have been influenced by some objective factors, like:
– legislative changes in gambling area, by adopting the OUG no 92/2014 and the Law no. 124/2015;
– focusing controlling in land-based with “slot-machine”, motivated by the necessity of creating discipline among gambling operators active in this area after a lot of deviation from the law regulations have been noticed
– changing the control priority – gradually including new areas in gambling control activity, more complex. Here are some few examples:
– online gambling activity organized by companies established outside of Romania borders through a gaming platform and including individuals from Romania to participate to this gambling
– identifying and excluding from the market the unauthorized slot-machines
– conforming the activity with the legal frame for the economic operators that import, produce and/or purchasing gambling equipments
– Checking the modality to calculate the taxes and fiscal/financial obligation in accord with gambling legislation.

grafic 2

Computerization and Monitoring (2015)

Implementing the project “Increasing ONJN Interoperability Level”

interoperabilitate

The deadline for implementation was 15th December 2015.
By implementing the information system, ONJN covers an essential part from its own activity computerization needs. Through this project, ONJN aimed to achieve the following general objectives:
– Developing interoperability mechanism between ONJN and public institutions at central level related with ONJN activity and with role in the authorization and licensing of gambling operators in accord with legal regulations in gambling area
– Supporting the ONJN beneficiaries – gambling operators and individuals who are participating to these activities – by offering, according with its own attributions, authorization, licensing and informing services, thorough electronic modalities The informatics system specific objectives which have been implemented were:
– Reducing the number of paper documents processed by ONJN by offering an alternative modality of collecting the electronic format requests
– Increasing the quality of the information to be used by the management of the institution and the compartments involved in monitoring and control of gambling activity in order to identify those situations which are generating organized criminal activity, tax evasion and activities related with corruption and terrorism;
– Internal activity efficiency through implementing the internal flow for authorization and licensing in electronic environment.

Before implementing the information system, ONJN has developed all the authorization and control activities through internal flows in order to process all the documents in paper format. But in parallel, has established also a partial electronic register of those important documents about the licenses issued and about gambling operators. All the dates have been collected from the documents submitted by the operators. This register has been built as a database which will be replaced by this informatics system in order to insure the institutional communication in online between National Gambling Office, the traditional gambling operators and online gambling operators and six public institutions with legal attributions in receiving/sending data and information:

1) Public Finance Minister – National Agency of Fiscal Administration – Antifraud Department, Custom Department
2) Romanian Government – Government General Secretariat – National Office for Prevention and Combating of Money wash
3) National Office of Trade Register
4) Internal Affairs Minister – Romanian Police General Inspectorate – Economical Criminality Investigation Authority
5) Competition Council
6) Audiovisual National Council
The information system will be used by the following categories:
– General public, with access to the Internet portal, public section. Informatics system is not limiting in any way the number of users (by licensing the applications developed or the software or the incorporated system in the solution)
– Gambling operators representatives with access to the Internet portal, section restricted to the users registered in the system, to submit the online requests and files, notifications and to visualise the stage of the submitted files. In this category, the system users will be unlimited
– Internal users
The total eligible value of the project was of 3.442.560 RON.

Main monitoring and supervising activities developed in 2015

 Identifying, centralizing and monitoring of a number of 172 websites which are creating connections with unauthorized online gambling sites and unauthorized services according with Romanian legislation.
 Transmitting to Supervising and Control General Authority the Romanian websites which repeatedly and illegally had advertised tha online unauthorized online gambling platforms.
 Checking 5266 web domains to identify the online gambling sites
 Identifying and monitoring of a number of 381 unauthorized online gambling sites by performing 16.429 print-screens.
 Drawing monitoring reports and transmitting to Gambling Authorization General Authority those information in connection with the operators who have submitted a temporary gambling authorization request for organizing and exploiting online gambling
 Identifying and monitoring Romanian forums from gambling area
 Monitoring facebook pages which offers connections with unauthorized online gambling or with the activities and services connected with these
 Comparing the data submitted by the fix odd bets operators with the documents registered about the incomes and the data registered in ONJN terminals

We want to transform the Romanian market in a market capable to become a model at European level, to become one of the best regulated market both for operators and players, an active and responsible market to generate trust with specific methods against gambling addiction and in trend with the last tendencies and innovations.
Considering that we have a common goal – to create a strong and correct industry, I can assure you that our institution will always be a partner for dialogue.

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