anchidim zagrean

The practice of gambling in 2022

Special regulation of gambling in Romania

Article from the series “Gambling practice“, by Anchidim Zăgrean, President of ROMBET

As stated in several published articles, the special regulation of gambling in Romania needs to be revised and modernized to comply with the principle of quality of common internal rules but especially to correlate with the principles and objectives to be achieved, in order to harmonize with official documents of the European Union. This should be done on two levels: one of urgency, in order to save from bankruptcy the activities that have suffered the most as a result of the restrictions imposed by the state, with direct reference to slot-type gambling. machines, casinos and poker clubs and the second level should include the full revision and full harmonization of special regulations for the entire field of activity.

We were glad to find out, from the direct meetings we had with the Minister of Finance, that the ministry intends to achieve these objectives, with a real transparency towards the economic operators, therefore in the next period it will be constituted, at of the ministry, a Consultative Council with the representatives of the profile associations and later sectoral meetings will take place, in order to start the complete revision of the fiscal system as well as the provisions of the special regulations of the various activities, including for gambling activity. In fact, this desideratum is also clear from the messages of the Minister of Finance, as is the one sent during the participation in the event “Capital Market Performers for 2021”, organized by the Bucharest Stock Exchange, where we find the availability to solve these problems and difficult situations that have arisen recently:

“In complicated situations, such as the current one, the most important thing is to find solutions for a real partnership between the state, citizens, economy and capital so as to identify the causes of vulnerabilities and strengthen the basic elements or pillars on which an economy is built”, said Adrian Câciu.

At the meeting of Rombet’s representatives with the Minister of Finance, we presented the concrete solutions for fulfilling the two requests:

1.Emergency support – with a deadline of 31.12.2022 – for traditional gambling organizers, with the most affected activity due to the restrictions imposed, with direct reference to slot machines, casinos and nightclubs poker, with the following measures:
a) the annual fee, related to the gambling exploitation authorization, is due for each means of gambling and is paid in 12 equal monthly installments, for the first month until the 25th of the month following the month in which the documentation was approved and for the other 11 months – up to and including the 25th of the current month, for the previous month;
b) recalculation and proportional adjustment of the fees due by the organizers of gambling, depending on the manner of activity (schedule) and as a result of compliance with the restrictions imposed on the level of operation of the space, from maximum capacity. The updated calculation of the fee due will take into account the level of the fee per calendar day, by relating the annual fee to the number of days in the year for which the authorization was issued. Operators operating traditional games of chance will recalculate, declare and pay the recalculated amount, at the due dates, as the case may be, of the annual fees due. Implementation shall be effected by the adoption of a Order of the President within 15 days of the entry into force of the special emergency regulation.

2. Proposals and solutions for legislative additions or amendments, with a view to making transparency, monitoring and more efficient collection of taxes and fees due:
a) The gambling organization license – to be issued in electronic format, with a validity period of 10 years and a visa is granted annually, with the imposition of validity conditions;
b) Authorization to operate gambling – to be issued in electronic format, with a validity period of 10 years and a visa is granted annually, with the imposition of conditions of validity;
c) Comprehensive review and harmonization of the special national tax system with European rules, by establishing taxes and duties as a result of the level of services provided by the fact that they represent taxes on services, which are payable as a result of the delivery of those services;
d) The complete elimination of Article 18 of the Fiscal Code, regarding the special tax regime – anachronistic and outdated – and which does not respect any principle of taxation;
e) Digitization of the ONJN activity, including the monitoring and supervision of the operators’ activity in order to obtain instantly the data and operations carried out;
f) The complete revision of the regulations regarding the organization and operation of gambling in Romania, including regarding: the elimination, from the raffle-type gambling, of the provision according to which the prizes are awarded only in kind and the fact that the property right over the goods awarded as prizes in each edition of the game will be held by the organizer, prior to the start of the game edition, and the good will be sent to the participants designated winners free of any tasks; elimination of access fees to specialized casino or poker club locations; elimination of the obligation to print bingo tickets at the National Printing House; clear regulation of the manner of licensing and authorization of other types of games of chance than those provided for in the special regulation;
g) All documents, submitted by the organizers or requested by ONJN, will be sent in electronic format, with electronic signature;
h) Reviewing the regulations regarding responsible gaming, in order to be able to operationalize the activity of prevention, education and treatment.

In this sense, the first solution would be to unblock the activity of the Responsible Gaming Department within ONJN, by reviewing the conditions for filling vacancies, including by adapting the salary level to market conditions.
The second solution would be to return to the first legislative variant (GEO 77/2009, with amendments), through which the responsible gaming activity should be carried out by a foundation / association financed by the gambling organizers. The foundation or association will be put into practice by government decision or order of the ONJN president and the projects thus carried out will be approved and monitored by the ONJN. In support of the claim to return to the original legal form of GEO 77, we use the operative part 50 of the CCR, of Decision no. 15 of January 22, 2022, by which, as I have always argued, this with the exception of the provisions of Government Ordinance 26 of 2000: “50. Regarding the option of the legislator to regulate, by derogation, the direct allocation of budget revenues in support of COSR and CNP through a separate law, amending and supplementing the normative act in force on the organization and operation of gambling, as well as the Law on physical education and sports, the Court has no jurisdiction to rule, given the wide margin of discretion in fiscal and budgetary matters which Parliament, as a sovereign regulatory authority, has. Distinguished, however, the Court notes that the two national sports structures – COSR and CNP – are distinguished from all other sports structures and, at the same time, from other associations or foundations of legal persons of private law, public utility, by the statute and role established by law., as shown above. Moreover, according to art.46 paragraph (1) letter f) of the Government Ordinance no.26 / 2000 on associations and foundations, published in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I, no.39 of January 31, 2000, the income they also come from “resources obtained from the state budget or from local budgets”. On the other hand, according to art.85 of the same Government ordinance, legal persons of public utility – associations, foundations or other such organizations – established by laws, ordinances, decree-laws, Government decisions or any other acts public law does not fall under the scope of the said ordinance, but remain subject to the special regulations underlying their establishment and operation. In this sense, it is found that both COSR and CNP benefit from a special status among associations and foundations, being national organizations, established by Law no. 69/2000, with the status of association – legal person of private law, useful publishes, so that the legislator has the full option on how to grant financial support from the state budget, within the limits allowed by other incidental laws and the Constitution.”

We return, in the following issues of the magazine, with other opinions on the activity of gambling…

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