The “phantom” President or how to destroy the industry that you are supposed to control

The 11th edition of the Ora Exactă în Gambling (OExG) seminar took place on Friday, March 15, starting at 11:00, at the Odeon Palace in Bucharest. The event was very successful, with fruitful discussions, but an elephant was in the room. We’re talking about the absence of the person who was capable and responsible for offering clarifications and explanations regarding the burning issues in the industry: the President of ONJN, Gheorghe-Gabriel Gheorghe.

Gheorghe-Gabriel Gheorghe, absent without leave from OExG 11

Not earlier than Tuesday, March 12, the man who became the President of ONJN in November 2023 confirmed his presence at the Exact Time in Gambling seminar to the organizers. On the day of the event, total surprise! Gheorghe-Gabriel Gheorghe announced just an hour before the start that he would not be present in the hall.

“We could declare ourselves extremely surprised by this disrespectful attitude not only towards the organizers, but also towards the guests. We’re talking about important representatives of entities that are essential to the industry. However, the shock is not so great if we consider that this is the second consecutive seminar from the OExG series requested by Gheorghe-Gabriel Gheorghe and the ONJN leadership, which the head of the institution does not deign to attend. Furthermore, vice-president Silviu Pocora announced on the morning of March 15 that he would attend the event. However, he did not even show up for the ceremonial coffee consumed by participants at the end of the seminar. This attitude is defiant towards all those involved”, said Mihnea Popescu-Grisogono, founder of the integrated project Casino Life & Business Magazine.

An industry in a very turbulent and challenging period, especially from the legislative standpoint, needed the presence of representatives from the regulatory authority. Specially since, during the event, stringent topics were addressed, such as the law drafted by Deputy Alfred Simonis or Emergency Ordinance 82/2023.

There were also discussions about how operators are taxed and what will happen with the money collected by ONJN (approximately 20 million euros annually). It is self-evident that all those present would have been eager to hear details and explanations directly from Gheorghe-Gabriel Gheorghe or at least Silviu Pocora.

Unfortunately the ONJN leaders decided to skip once again an edition of this seminar. What remains in their wake is confusion, a bitter taste, and an intense sense of concern about the future of the industry they should be shepherding. A sad conclusion, but the harsh reality is that the leader of ONJN turns out to be a character similar to the famous Fantomas, played by Jean Marais: he doesn’t show up where he should and appears where he shouldn’t!

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