Distinction granted within the annual Casino Life & Business Magazine Awards Gala
➤ Who is Anchidim Zagrean?
An economist, ASE graduate, involved in the field of liberal professions since 1990, as chartered accountant, and fiscal consultant in 2007, with a professional activity in gambling filed of over 18 years.
➤ How did you get to work in the gambling industry?
Around the year 2000, in Bistrita, I was the president of the Chartered Accountants Branch and I was asked to express a series of professional opinions regarding the gambling field, organized by private operators. I knew nothing about this activity, only that the folklore and friends kept suggesting to me that in that area there were happening things at the limit of the law and that a professional should not be associated with that kind of activities. Curiosity and the position of those around me pushed me and determined me to check by myself whether all those were true or just fiction. I asked for some time, for documentation and study, and then I accepted the challenge, after I had reached the conclusion that the reality is totally different from the one suggested, that the activity is well regulated, however with many deficiencies in what regards the practice of this activity. And look how over 18 years of practice in gambling have passed ….
➤ If you didn’t do what you are doing now, what would you have liked to do?
Certainly I would still have been in the field of specialized consultancy, given the experience I have gathered in time through civil or criminal surveys performed – while I was acting as a freelancer – where the professional conduct and norms would bind you to a neutral behaviour, to objective opinions, without contractual obligations or other commitments, that would question the credibility of the survey. In fact, even now my opinions expressed publicly or in professional presentations from seminars, conferences or debates, are based on the same objective principles and professional norms of conduct, self-imposed, even if I perform my activity as vice-president of the ROMBET Association.
➤ What is your opinion about the gambling industry in Romania?
Given the fact that the gambles organized and exploited by economic operators with private capital from Romania have a rather short history, I would say that they have evolved extraordinarily, both at quantitative level, but especially from a qualitative point of view. I may say, without any exaggeration, that at this moment the gambling in Romania represents a service supply activity, with a special character, permanently monitored, attentively supervised, rigorously controlled, but also taxed at one of the highest levels of affordability. My opinion, at this moment, is that keeping a balance, by keeping this activity under control, is at a dangerous limit and any additional measures, taken by the state, could lead any time to a loss of control, to moving these activities in the grey area and, at the same time, the impossibility of intervening in case of any unwanted social consequences take place.
➤ What do you think that the authorities for gambling industry from our country should still do?
I am not in a position to give advice to the state authorities, but, in exchange, I can suggest to all those involved in this activity, after they study and analyze the package of the normative acts in the field, to answer themselves to this question, maybe even by the agency of the magazine, passing these legislative norms through a filter of their quality and using the criteria of the Constitutional Court of Romania, when it comes to the quality of a normative act. These criteria impose the compliance with a high standard of quality and are based on:
The principle of free access to justice, which involves, among others, the adoption by the law-maker of some clear procedure rules, where there are accurately indicated the conditions and the terms when the parties can exercise their procedural rights, including those regarding the means of appeal against the decisions pronounced by the courts;
Any normative act should be formulated with sufficient accuracy so as to allow the interested persons, who may ask for a specialist’s advice, to provide to a reasonable extent the consequences that may result from such an act;
Any normative act must be sufficiently precise and clear so as to be able to be applied;
An unclear and imprecise normative act, therefore lacking of predictability, contravenes to the dispositions of art. 1 para. 5 from the Constitution, and it is considered that it is thus violated the right to defence and to an equitable lawsuit, as a result of the lack of clearness and predictability of the norm.
➤ What does the industry look like today and what changes will be in 2019?
The gambling industry from Romania is confused at the moment, in terms of the latest modifications of the regulations in the field, it is desperately looking for solutions, it is making analyses but, most of all, it is wondering whether it hasn’t been deceived and lured, with a 10-year license? The special regulations have established the conditions of organization and exploitation of this activity, and the financers have performed studies, have set budgets on at least 10 years, have decided to invest in this sector, then, suddenly, non-transparently and over night, they could acknowledge that the rules of the game can be changed unilaterally, by the state, during those 10 years of license, and that everything they’ve gained in previous period, can be lost in the last 2 days of the year. This is how I believe the industry looks like today: the organizers are staring at the state representatives, desperately trying to guess the winning option, from those two possible, to give up the activity or take the risk by continuing the activity, suddenly becoming from gambling organizers true active players, without their will, of course.
➤ How do you believe that the Responsible Gambling program will develop?
I believe it’s on the right way, given that the three associations – Romslot, ROMBET and Romanian Bookmakers – contributed to the establishment of the Responsible Gambling Association. It has already been created the legal framework for the establishment, at ONJN level, of an activity, financed integrally from own funds, for the promotion of the adherence to the principles and measures regarding the socially responsible gambling. The incomes from the own activities are used for the prevention of the gambling addiction and will be attributed for the activities and programs for the protection of the young and of the gamblers from gambling, the prevention and treatment of the gambling addiction, performance of the responsible promotion and advertising, promptly and efficiently solving any disputes between gambling organizers and gamblers, in the conditions and in accordance with the procedure established by the order of the president of O.N.J.N.
➤ What is your opinion about the number of professional associations existent in this industry?
I don’t think there are many associations in this field, considering that there are quite many types of gambles, each with its own conditions of organization and exploitation. We, Rombet, have wanted from the very beginning to bring together with us organizers from as many types of activity as possible, including from the area of the activities related to gabling, which we managed to achieve, in fact. However, I believe that, at this moment, a unification of all the associations from Romania would be necessary, in the shape of a Federation, for the representation of the interests of the operators activating in the gambling field.
➤ What does the Romanian gambling industry look like compared to other gambling industries from the European Union?
I think it is organized and represented quite well, but in what regards the future, after what happened on December 29th 2018, I cannot be too optimistic, the evolution of things is quite unpredictable, unless maybe the future will contradict me and suddenly, over night, the state representatives will establish in the gambling special regulations those principles of quality I made reference to in my answer to question 5.
➤ What would you like to say to the operators from this field?
First of all, something that depends entirely on them, I think it is a good idea for them to enroll into a representative association, which may defend, at need, their interests. Then, I believe it is fundament for their special activity, to be more moderate when transmitting advertisements, in the shape of commercial offers, to be as reserved and restrained when their actions may affect the responsible gambling principles and measures.
➤ What would you like to transmit to our readers for the new year?
A New Year full of satisfactions, joy, health and, why not, to keep an eye on us in 2019 too, with new materials in the magazine, under the heading ”Opinion regarding the gambling practice „.
Happy New Year everyone!