Exclusive interview with Mrs. Odeta Nestor, President of the Romanian National Gambling Office for Casino Life & Business Magazine.
The Romanian market is a market with potential and of interest for the big operators.
What news about the legislation does the Romanian National Gambling Office present to the Exact Time in Gambling seminar?
Starting from the necessity of correlating the internal and the European legislation and of creating a fair and competitive business environment, a series of legislative changes were proposed, meant to regulate mainly the online sector , the consumers’ and underage players’ protection, a balanced level of taxation, a better control in order to eliminate illegal activities, responsible advertising, and, last but not least, changing the mentalities concerning this field of activity.
We have studied the models of states such as Malta, Great Britain, France, Italy, countries with history and advanced legislation, both in the land-based and in the online sectors. Their experience helped create a new regulation for a better organized and supervised gambling market, with a proper level of protection for the players, including the prevention of gambling addiction, taking into account the peculiarities of the Romanian market, of course, and which can, at the same time, remain attractive for the investors.
I would like to mention some of the main implemented measures: introduction of gambling games only in especially designated halls and the introduction of certain new types of entertainment devices and machines, with limited earnings (AWPs), in order to prevent addiction; introduction of temporary games, especially for the touristic areas; introduction of an increased supervising activity of the games means in order to prevent tax evasion (connection to servers); establishing certain precise norms concerning the protection of underage players, of young people and other players, prevention of gambling addiction and creation of some private organizations and of a special fund which will be used for preventing the ludomania problem; introduction of a new category of activities connected to gambling for which it is necessary to obtain a license, namely: affiliates, software providers, certifiers, auditors, payments processors.
We are going to detail all these and answer all the questions with all openness at the Exact Time in Gambling seminar, we’re going to answer whatever questions the participants might have about the new regulations.
What are your expectations from the industry this autumn? And from now on?
With the implementation of the new law provisions, and here I also mean the secondary and tertiary legislation, which are still in their notification period with the European Commission, we think that the market will adapt naturally to the new regulations. The law will require responsibility and seriousness from all of us, and those who intend to run a fair business will benefit from all the premises from the Romanian state.
The Romanian market is a market with potential, a market of interest for the big operators. The perspectives are positive, and within a few months’ time we will definitely have the figures to confirm it.
At this point, we have 4 operators who obtained the temporary functioning right on the Romanian market, and by the end of the year we are expecting big international operators, who have clear intentions in this regard and have already submitted their applications.
As I said above, we hope that by the end of the year we make public concrete data which would support the benefits these legislative changes brought, for real, on the market.
What do you think this edition of the E-Arena Expo fair will bring new?
In my opinion, throughout the years, E-Arena Expo has built the image of a reference event for the Romanian gambling industry.
In general, on international level, this kind of events are awaited with high interest by the gambling industry, because they bring together stakeholders from each branch of the gambling industry: regulating authorities, leaders of opinion, important operators, an important number of exhibitors, representing companies from all over the world. At the events I took part in, I had the pleasure to also meet Romanian companies, as exhibitors.
From my point of view, I think it is a well chosen moment especially for the new edition of the E-Arena Expo, because the market is still in full development. Subject of interest, such as innovation, research and technological development concerning the gambling devices, the incomes that can be brought by technology and gambling by means of smartphones, the barriers which can stand in the way of innovation, risks and opportunities, good practices, case studies and the regulations specific to them, they will all be on the E-Arena Expo agenda. And the fact that a communication opportunity between those involved in this field is thus created makes me believe that this is an event that everyone interested by this field should attend.
How will the new legislative regulations boost the market?
Together with other state authorities, we worked on these legislation changes for more than a year and a half and I can tell you that, once finished, I have used all possible means to make them known, whether it was events we took part in, interviews or mere discussions and audiences with those who expressed their interest in this direction. We were in permanent contact with the market, with the associations’ representatives, with bigger or smaller international operators, and very importantly, with the representatives of the European Commission.
We wanted to bring stability and predictability in this field, and the signals we received make me think we are on the right track. The big operators want to enter the Romanian market according to the law and they are making all necessary endeavors in this regard. They understood our motivation, as a regulatory authority, and, at the same time, they became aware of the benefits they will have: a significant market, a taxation system which is among the lowest in Europe and, last, but not least, a permanent dialogue with the state representatives, fact which guarantees the balance of the industry by the continuous monitoring of the market.
For the time being, as estimates, and I mean here strictly the online sector, just the direct taxes (for the licensing) which are to be cashed in at the state budget from the gambling organizers will raise up to tens of millions of Euros, with a potential for further growth. And here we add the licenses for the activities connected to gambling, the income taxes, plus the sectors generating goods and services, which will also generate important sums of money.