(Română) Programul Joc Responsabil la 6 ani de la lansare

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2018: A year to consolidate the industry from ROMBET’s perspective

The year 2018 is the year in which the primary and secondary legislation, by means of GEO 77/2009 and GR 111/2016, shall entirely show their effects given that they have set the foundation of a regulation that is modern and in complete compliance with European recommendations with regards to a common goal, which is a stable and well regulated industry.

 

It is the year in which the NOG (National Office for Gambling) shall regulate certain key fields which have yet to be sufficiently clarified, be it either responsible games, which shall become more evident in 2018, including through the Responsible Game Foundation, a clarification necessary for approving publicity activities, because there are still debates and different approaches among operators, especially between the specificity of promoting on-line operators and land-based operators.

 

2018 is the year in which the provisions of the “tax revolution” enter into force and in which ROMBET, by means of the seminaries it shall organize, both in Bucharest and at national level, must give answers to a series of questions which are constantly asked by gambling organizers:

 

  1. Establishing the type of tax which is to be paid, by respecting the statement obligations provided by law:
  1. The income tax of micro-enterprises, in the context in which, on 31.12.2017, they gained income which has not exceeded the RON equivalent of a million euros, at the exchange rate valid upon the closing of the fiscal year, with the question, if, perhaps, with the approval of GEO 79/2017, things shall return to their initial provisions, according to which the income from gambling cannot be taxed as such;
  2. The specific tax, for activities provided under Law 170 from 2016 in conditions in which it does not enter within the income tax of micro-enterprises, which has priority against the specific tax for all other gambling adjacent activities;
  1. Practical measures as to apply provisions regarding transferring compulsory social contributions due on behalf of employees with obligations attributed to employers. To this respect, the employer is to establish, retain, declare and pay the obligations due by employees, as well;

The level of contributions due and the income tax starting with the year 2018:

Employee: social security contribution due to the state social security budget – 25%; health insurance contributions due to the Sole national health insurance fund – 10%.

Employer: labor collateral contribution due to the state budget – 2.25%.

Tax rate: the tax rate is of 10% and it is applied to the taxable income associated to each source of each category used to determine tax.

Speaking about 2018, Mr. Dan Ghiță, ROMBET president, said that “it is important to give the signal we have to give: we have consolidated market, stable, transparent and regulated. Moreover, we are predisposed to change as the desire to grow is still extremely strong. We have a young generation of business people in the industry, and this is another very good sign, because they have made their reputation in an era of change, they know what it means and are prepared for it. Even more so, they will also generate it”.

 

Mr. Bogdan Coman, ROMBET Executive Director, believes that 2018 shall produce several more changes: more and more support companies arise for the gambling industry, which provide services especially for specialized software development. “If we turn our attention to neighboring countries – Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria – we see that this is becoming a more and more accentuated trend. IT companies in the industry, from the Balkans, are becoming more and more important all over Europe. This represents an extraordinary opportunity for Romania because of the fact that our country is known for its human resources in IT. We believe that this trend shall go on and shall become even more evident this year, not only based on accessing resources in the region, but also as a result of internal growth signaled by many of our association’s members”.

 

From an organizational point of view, ROMBET hopes that 2018 shall be the year in which associations in the field shall work best together and shall unite their efforts for more unity in strategies and actions. It all has already started in 2017: now, it’s time to enforce the partnership between associations.

Editorial – A Big Family

by INSIDER

The year that just started could be a benchmark for our gaming industry. When I say this I rely on the analysis of the last few years. I feel that this year can be a very good one for us, with all the political and economic “madness” around us. Our market has reached a maturity level large enough to sediment what it has built in recent years. All it has to do is keep going on its own way and be consistent with the ideas and values it has been promoting lately. I think our industry is at the moment a model. Of course, we need to keep an eye on what’s going on around us, but I think we all have the ability to continue building a safe road for us. Many people depend on us, and that can only make us more responsible. The gaming industry is at this moment in Romania a support for the Romanian economy, both at the macro (statistics) and micro (human) levels. We pay taxes, employ people, contribute to the economic cycle through consumption of goods and services, entertain players / clients, carry out CSR-type activities and, above all, we are responsible! We congratulate you for what you have achieved and we are glad that we are also part of this big family.

 

At the end of last year, our magazine awarded the Las Vegas casino floors for the most dynamic territory development in Romania in 2017. This was due to the sustained growth of the company, the growth of the brand’s reputation and the fact that this company has become a representative one for our profile market. Now Las Vegas has a new owner in the person of Mr. T. Andranik, and he naturally chose the Casino Inside Magazine to introduce himself to the Romanian gambling industry. We welcome him and assure him of all our faith and support. Learn more about this topic in the Cover Story!

 

The Jack & Play Again is gradually becoming an important operator, a company that is investing more and more in its casino floors, people, marketing and brand. Their location in Deva was inaugurated in the fall of 2015 on the premises of Shopping City Deva, and not only does it benefit from an excellent location, but it also has a professional team which offers players a special place dedicated to best quality entertainment, in addition to marketing campaigns and promotions thought out in accordance with the specific of the location. Currently, the “Mercedes C Class” Campaign is in progress and its final draw which will take place on February 22, 2018! Besides the luxury car, prizes worth RON 78,000 will also be awarded. This campaign was carried out over almost 5 months, and the total prizes exceed RON 350,000!

Danemar Trading will turn 25 years since its inception in March this year! I believe this is extraordinary and we congratulate Victor Marin and his team of professionals for what they have done all this time. We love that Danemar makes a positive contribution to the procurement process between the manufacturer and the end customer, having a double role: Specialist and Supplier. They are leaders on the cash payment systems market and the largest Distributor and Authorized Service Center for payment systems in Eastern Europe. Learn more about their accomplishments and success by reading the material that we dedicated to their anniversary.

At the end of this first 2018 edition, Casino Inside team wishes you an excellent year, as we are convinced you will have it!

 

HAITI, a country of contrasts, including in gambling

Haiti is the poorest country in the Caribbean and one of the poorest in the world with a GDP of approx. $ 1,000 per capita. This country has the third largest population in the region (10.6 million inhabitants) and shares the Hispaniola island with the Dominican Republic. The spoken languages are French and Creole, but English is also spoken in the tourist areas.

The Haitians do not do well, 80% of them live in poverty, but they have fun playing cards or dominoes, participating in and betting on bullfighting or cockfights in a way that is not organized or regulated. On every street corner, you can find mini roulette games with wooden roulettes and a cheap cardboard table where stones are used to position the bets, around which all the people on the street gather.

Land-based Gambling

Land-based gambling is legal in this country, with only 2 casinos operating in the capital of Port-au-Prince: El Rancho Hotel & Casino and Royal Haitian Hotel & Casino. These casinos provide the most popular games such as blackjack, roulette, poker, slot machines, etc. One interesting thing to know is that the payment rates of gaming machines in Haitian casinos are not among the largest, in no way as we are accustomed to in Europe. El Rancho Hotel & Casino has 50 slot machines and 15 live game tables where you can enjoy any of the notorious games: blackjack, roulette and poker. The location also offers the possibility to dine at two restaurants here and 95 hotel rooms, which can accommodate enough guests. Royal Haitian Hotel & Casino is a slightly more intimate casino (around 500m2) with only 30 slot machines and 6 live tables. Note that the legal age to play at the casino in this country is 18 years.

Online Gambling in Haiti

Online gambling is not regulated in any way in Haiti, although there are several Haitian players playing on the online gambling sites in the so-called offshore online casino area. However, the government of this country does not consider regulating online gambling a priority, although many countries in the region have regulated this area just to benefit from the licensing or operating license fees that can be paid by gaming operators in countries where these operators are operating.

The Haitian Lottery

The Haitian Lottery is like a national game in Haiti. It is also called “borlette”. The Haiti Lottery is also called “Mon Reve” or “My Dream” because many Haitians select their lottery numbers based on their visions or dreams.

The lottery in Haiti is a serious business, and there are many residents scraping tickets or playing the lottery for the chance of those big winnings that can change their lives and help them escape poverty. Lottery agencies are found throughout Haiti, even in the form of a folding table, installed at the intersection of two access ways.

The numbers for private lotteries in Haiti are usually determined by the winning numbers drawn either at the New York State Lottery or at the Santo Domingo State Lottery.

Cockfights

It’s a great tradition in Haiti that dozens, perhaps hundreds of people, some exalted, some transfigured, watch deadly cockfights and bet on them. These cockfights are mostly encountered in very poor rural areas. For these people, who live on about $ 2 a day, this type of entertainment is everything. Most bets are between $ 2 and $ 10. Owners bring their cocks into the arena early in order to keep them alert and get them accustomed to the atmosphere.

Cockfights are part of the centuries-old culture of the island’s inhabitants, and is most likely the most popular form of gambling here. In most parts of the world it is illegal, but here it is the ultimate form of leisure.

Bullfighting

This is also more than a century old, and the bets consist of big stakes, big enough to buy a car or pay for your children’s private school. Bullfighting means serious fights that cause a lot of damage around them, and the crowd around the ring (which is usually a muddy puddle) often suffers injuries or blows from the two fighting bulls. The fight is lost when one of the bulls retreats and runs away from its opponent’s path.

Haiti is a country condemned to suffering, led by a corrupt political class, and often the Haitians fail to meet even their needs of strict necessity. Poverty-ridden Haitians are often looking to survive through their culture, and probably the only time they will be winners in the struggle with life will be when their cock or bull will be the winner in the ring.

Baha Mar Casino – a kaleidoscope of Caribbean culture and entertainment

-Oana Mihalache

For old figures in the gambling industry, casinos in exotic locations are real oasis for relaxation and escapism! Surrounded by beaches, with views towards the sea or the ocean, in an impressionistic mixture of green and blue, but also with many facilities meant to amplify the magic place – these are the coordinates of the famous casino Baha Mar Casino, in Bahamas. Live entertainment, games to suit all tastes and income levels, but also a range of facilities that offer clients an unforgettable experience, all mixed with the adrenaline of winning.

The casino is now described as the most prestigious place dedicated to gambling in Nassau, which is the capital city of Bahamas. On the casino’s official website, a part of the description awakens the curiosity: the nightlife experience there is described as a kaleidoscope of culture and entertainment”. As the biggest casino in the Caribbean, Baha Mar Casino stands up to its reputation: it covers over 30.000 square meters and offers slot machines, table games, and the gambling experience is amplified by the magnificent view towards the ocean and windows from the floor to the ceiling. The gambling experience at Baha Mar Casino can be best described in the following way: 1.140 slot machines with games like Stepper, Video Reels, Wheel of Fortune, Electronic Table Games and Poker; 119 table games with 4 varieties of Blackjack, Single and Double Zero Roulette, electronic table games, but also  poker; a High Limit gaming salon with 22 table games, but also 4 private gaming salons – with games like Blackjack, Midi Baccarat and Single Zero Roulette. On top of that, at the gaming tables players can also have acces to 8 types of proprietary games, such as: Blackjack Switch, Free Bet Blackjack, Casino War, Pai Gow Poker, 3 Card Poker, Let it Ride Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker.

The casino was opened in April 2017 and is now opened daily from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m., a timetable during which players can not only enjoy an unique gaming experience, but also rejoice the advantages of a luxurious resort. Before describing these facilities, the first and foremost bonus of this resort are its 1.800 rooms – spacious, made for long relaxing sessions, offering views towards the ocean and surrounding islands. Also, even though gaming nights can be exhausting – due to the desire to have fun and to boost the adrenaline, during the day guests can relax at a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, a golf American player considered to be one of the best in the world. For those who love to play tennis, the resort also includes a tennis field – called Racquet Club. For those who would rather relax in a passive manner, one of the six pools awaits them, which are surrounded by smooth sand and where they can enjoy all the spoils they can think of – cocktails, tents under which they can stay under shadow, delicious meals and not only. Those who visit this resort will be treated like stars or even like royalty – in the parking lot there is a personal valet waiting for the guests, who also have access to a fitness center, fitness, can choose between Asian, Chinese, British or Bahamas cuisine.

The resort if right in the middle of a very attractive area, thus visitors cannot afford to miss seeing places like the Pirates Museum in Nassau, Pompey Museum, the private Blue Lagoon Beach – in case they were lucky at the gaming table to afford such a spoil – but they can neither miss adventures like a Kayaking session, a visit at the Tropical Gardens, the Clifton Heritage Park or dicing among the marine species that can be seen in the Atlantic waters.

Investments in the resort reached $3.5 billion – an investment project which proved to be an ambitious one for what was projected to be the main attraction in the Bahamas islands. This resort is about to become even more popular than the famous Atlantic Casino Resort, the most popular one in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, at least until this year. The resort was built with financing from the Chinese government, which at the moment has many other ongoing investment projects in the Bahamas, including a redevelopment plan of downtown Nassau. This help came following the initiative on the part of the Bahamas authorities – who claimed that the resort would contribute by more than 10% to the GDP and bring 7.000 new jobs on the island. Basically, the resort is now owned by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises – based in Hong Kong, and the mortgage is held by the Chinese state through the national bank Export-Import Bank and by China State Construction Engineering.

Initially the project was started by a consortium formed by Sarkis Izmirlian, in partnership with Caesars Entertainment, former CEO of Las Vegas Sands and other investors – but they did not manage to finish the ambitious construction. The project was initially launched under the banner “Las Vegas on the Beach”, but because of repeated delays, other resorts soon took over the market. The main competitors of Baha Mar are Atlantic Casino, but also other attractions on the US east coast and across Florida. Due to this reason, Chow Tai Fook could attempt a marketing trick and tempt Chinese players on this side of the Caribbean. Until then, the potential of this resort can only go up, and the Chinese investments in this area are for sure on our radar – next to other projects “to be followed”.

Oran Gragson, the mayor who gave life to Vegas

-Oana Mihalache

Even if many of the personalities that are associated with Vegas come from the arts or gambling area, the merits for an impressionistic number of reforms that changes this city are owed to people from politics. Such an example is Oran Gragson, the longest serving mayor of Vegas, a man who fought against corruption, initiated a wave of social reforms and started a project of systematization that drastically changes the city.

He first run for mayor in 1959, and then he stayed in this position for 16 years. Born in 1911, Oran Gragson grew amidst the Great Depression of the ‘30s in the United States, and in 1932 he was working for the construction of the Hoover Dam – located between the states of Nevada and Arizona, a project which was initiated by the president Franklin D. Rooseveld during the economic recession. His only fortune consisted then of $2.70, but he only got to work at the Dam for two weeks, and then he became a truck driver for a dollar an hour. In 1934, he married Bonnie Hanley – his high school girlfriend – and they spent their honeymoon in Las Vegas.

Intuitively, Gragson then told his wife, while he was trying to convince her they should live there, that he one day will be the mayor of Vegas. Shortly after, his road toward entrepreneurship started, precisely in 1937, when he worked as an associate for his first business called the Little Secondhand Store. After many other adventures in this field, he managed to owe his own store, at which he sold television sets. This is the moment when he started seriously to think about becoming a mayor – because the police in town repeatedly told him they had found the door at his store left open, even though he knew that he himself had locked it. The corruption was in full swing in those days in Vegas, and the policemen were controlling local businesses. Well, the spirit of justice characteristic of Gragson was to end this custom – or at least try to do it.

From a novice in politics to the longest serving mayor of Vegas

After he managed to eliminate the endemic corruption within the Police Department, then run by a group of officers accused of burglary and other illicit acts, Gragson started to plan the Fremont West Expressway, now part of US Highway 95 and also known as Oran Gragson Expressway. His road in politics started with the county elections in 1959, when he was not among the favorites for the electorate – as he was largely not known to the vast public, but at the elections in 1963 he managed to win. His electoral platform included, among other proposals, a radical reform in the Western side of Vegas, which was in a visible depressed state and had much to recover towards the rest of Vegas. A member of the Republican Party, his stakes for the mayor post were mainly the eradication of corruption among the local policemen and the initiation of social reforms meant to ensure equal chances for disadvantaged social and racial categories. One of the first measures he undertook as mayor and through which he managed so secure funds for his plans was to convince President Nixon to support legislation for a transfer of funds worth $1,6 million in order to enact an anti-poverty program in Vegas. In 1968 he proposed another measure that included a sales tax that would raise $6 million annually for Clark County. A year later he was recognized by the University of Nevada as a Distinguished Nevadan.

The long career of the mayor Gragson meant a total of four mandates, and it surely cannot be resumed to a few pages, but his initiatives did a lot to help Vegas become what it is today – an eclectic city, attractive for tourists around the world and for entrepreneurs as well. Even if he could have run again, Gragson decided to instead retire and he became the director of the association Downtown Progress, which he ran until 1986. His deep involvement in the social life of Vegas went beyond bureaucratic limits: he was part of a Committee to Employ the Handicapped and in 1976 he co-founded with his wife and other members the American’s Cancer Society’s Cancer Crusade – to mention only a few examples from his civic involvement. Gragson literally witnessed the development of Vegas, and he was the man to lay the foundations for what later became Sin City – now a well-established destination on the map of global gambling.

“The god of gamblingului” in Macau: Yin Hon The mentor of worldwide renowned Asian gamblers

-by Oana Mihalache

Even though the casino market in Macau seems to be one that is extremely diversified, as more and more operators announces a new business entering the market, this phenomenon is in fact a very recent one. Until the beginning of the years 2000, the monopoly over the gambling industry was owned by three names that are very popular within the Asian gambling market: Yin Hon, Stanley Ho and Henry Fok, a renowned tycoon from Hong Kong.

A businessman, a professional gambler and even more than that, considered a real mentor for Stanley Ho – these are the words that can describe Yin Hon in a brief way. In the 60s he helped found, together with a few business partners – afaceri – Teddy Yin, Stanley Ho and Henry Fok – the company of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), which soon came to own the monopoly over the gambling industry in Macau. Starting with the 1934, this monopoly was owned by the Tai Hing company. As soon as Yin Hon took over the lead in the gambling field of Macau, the Asian continent began to rival the biggest centers dedicated to this area. In 1963, the company run by Yin and his partners managed to open its first casino – Macau Palace, which appears in the James Bond series The Man with a Golden Gun. Unfortunately, this casino was closed in 2007.

The man of innovations on the Macau gambling market

After only two decades since the founding of STDM, Yin Ho left his business partners and started his own entrepreneurial dventurea – he got a license for operating Harness Racing. Initially this business proved to be a failure and after only a few years Hon was forced to retire. Meanwhile, the same STDM company took over this business and in 2012 Harness Racing brought a profit of no less than 21 million euros, so we can say that Yin Hon was behind this novelty that entered the Macau gambling industry. Even if in 2002 the government in Macau issued licenses for other gambling operators as well, thus broking the monopoly held by STDM, nearly half of the casinos operating in Macau are owned by Stanley Ho.

Before this huge brand-name for the gambling field in the region, Stanley Ho, it was Yin Hon that launched the destination of Macau as a landmark for the Asian gambling market. The most concludent proof for this is the fact that he helped laid the foundation not only for the most well-known company on the market, but also for one of the most renowned casinos in Macau – Casino Lisboa. The building and hotel tower of 12 floors were built in 1970 by the four tycoons that opened STDM previously.

 

 

Why is the name of Yin Hon a landmark for Macau gambling?

First of all, he was the one who initiated Stanley Ho, his good friend, in the gambling industry. Secondly, the STDM company, that he founded together with his partnes, played a crucial role in attracting players towards this part of China. Also, he brought an important contribution for facilitating access on the peninsula – he made great investments in airline companies. As for the gambling part, the company was wise in adjusting its offer – in the 70s they launched western-type slots, and a decade later they brought Pachinko games on the market, the most popular game in Japan.  After these novelties on the market, in the 1990s the tourists from Thailand, Korea and India were already familiar with the potential of the administrative area of Macau and shortly after, the popularity of this area exploded, and it now attracts tourists from around the world.

When disciples honor their mentors

Stanley Ho was basically launched into his career by Yin Hon, did not forgot about the one who represented a launching pad for him. In 1997, when the latter died, Ho held a speech during which he commemorated all the moments they went through together in the gambling industry of the (then) Portuguese enclave of the 1960s. Yin Hon died after a heart attack, which occurred when he was reading an article about horseracing – one of his lifetime passions. He left behind five children, but the heritage for the Asian gambling culture and even for the world of gambling cannot be quantified – the brand of Stanley Ho, building Macau as a gambling landmark, Casino Lisboa and the list does not end here.

Commercial spaces and the gambling industry

The Romanian real estate market has been through many changes over the last years. The financial crisis changed everything. The commercial premises fit for the opening of a casino/ gambling hall/bookmakers with potential, with a “pool” of gamblers and all the facilities required on our competition market are increasingly scarce and are leased immediately. The information is power in this field and also makes the difference between bankruptcy and profit.

The real estate market after the crisis

The real estate market has made an amazing come-back in the recent years after the crash in 2008-2009 amid the economic crisis.

Constructions began in several new areas throughout the year. The new building owners also focused on increasing the number of commercial spaces that are suitable for medical clinics, gyms, pharmacies, playgrounds and casinos, gaming rooms or any other activity that benefits buyers.

In recent years, the reduction in the number of commercial spaces has been happening much faster than the emergence of new ones, and this phenomenon is due mainly to the Romanian legislation. The new legislation does not ease the work and investment of the owners, and brings new licensing regulations. A commercial space, according to the law, must have several access ways, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and many more, which lead to huge investments to be made by the buyers / tenants.

Commercial spaces located on the ground floor of blocks, with massive visibility and in a good location are currently dominated by a rather small number of players, the vast majority of which are from the sectors of activity of pharmacies, supermarket chains, banks, and last but not least of gambling and betting operators.

“Charging decent rents compared to the ability of the commercial space to generate a certain level of sales has significantly reduced the rotation of the tenants in a certain space,” says Costina Petrescu, executive director of the real estate portal Titirez.ro.

Casinos, gambling and betting sites have been active for several decades at the ground floors of the city’s blocks. Over time, they have migrated, developed and occupied both major shopping centers and luxurious offices, mainly located historical buildings in very important areas of cities. Those commercial spaces, once leased, they hardly become vacant again. They turn into locations of great interest for gamers.

No commercial spaces in blocks with red circular markings

In 2015, following the tragedy in the Collective Club, the National Coalition for the Modernization of Romania asked President Iohannis to promulgate an emergency law, which was passed in the Parliament on October 10, 2015.

Thus, the law provides for the prohibition of the organization and carrying out of permanent and / or temporary activities in the areas “involving crowds of people until the completion of the interventions carried out in order to increase the level of the seismic safety of the existing constructions”.

“As a result of this law, the spaces in buildings with a seismic risk could no longer be used for commercial purposes. Thus, in a very short time, hundreds of units located in such buildings were closed. A direct result was also the increase in the prices for the spaces that complied with the legislative norms,” says Costina Petrescu, executive director of the Titirez.ro real estate portal.

Good perspectives

Romania has good macroeconomic prospects, and this encourages the consumption and the potential for development of the local commercial space market.

In the third quarter of this year, Romania’s GDP increased by 8.6% compared to the similar period in 2016, surpassing the 6.2% estimate of financial analysts. The European Commission estimates that Romania’s GDP will increase by 4.4% next year.

There are also several secondary cities that offer prospects for the development of several shopping centers, due to the favorable economic environment and consumer profile.

Average rental prices

The average rental price for spaces located in the shopping centers in the capital is EUR 60/sqm/month.

The rental price for street commercial spaces varies depending on the location, the specificity of the area and the opening to the pedestrian walkway. Average rents in areas such as Pantelimon, Colentina, Obor vary between EUR 20-25/sqm/month; In the Ștefan cel Mare area it is between EUR 20-30/sqm/month; In Militari tends to be between EUR 25-30/sqm/month. And in areas such as Titulescu and Victoriei Square, average rents are between EUR 25-35/sqm/month.

Regarding the rents in the central area of Bucharest, the price per square meter may vary between EUR 6/sqm for spaces located in historic villas, up to EUR 60-70/sqm for spaces in newer buildings on high traffic streets.

Cluj Napoca is the city that closely follows the rents of commercial spaces in Bucharest …

“The listing prices for the ground floor spaces in Cluj-Napoca city start at EUR 6-7 and can reach over EUR 40 per square meter. Thus, for a space located in the very heart of the city, with lots of pedestrian traffic, suitable for commercial activities, one would have to pay a rent of EUR 3,990/month for 86 sqm”, adds Costina Petrescu, CEO of Titirez.ro.

Trends

The trend of the recent years has been to reduce the areas required for leasing. Thus, potential tenants have begun to request surfaces between 50-120 square meters.

The continued growth of competition, consumer behavior and the trend towards online gambling and sports betting directly impact retail space development, but the market is maturing and going to the next level, which was to be expected.

“The prices of the rents for the commercial spaces that the gaming industry occupies are directly proportional to the evolution of the real estate market in Romania. The trend is to increase both sales and rental prices for all types of real estate. The rental prices of retail spaces located at the ground floors of blocks, especially those located right on the street, are expected to increase, the main cause being the limited supply and the high demand. There is indeed a transition to online services, but physical offices are imperative”, concludes Costina Petrescu, executive director of the leading real estate site network Titirez.ro.

Titirez.ro was launched in 2010 and it is the only real estate portal in Romania where the offer is balanced from the standpoint of demand and supply for both cheap and medium-high properties. Titirez.ro is the real estate portal where the agencies, developers and owners meet in perfect harmony with those who are looking for the purchase, sale or rental of a property.

Major events, national seminars and new members, on Rombet’s successful agenda in 2017

In the field of gambling which is constantly changing, both legally and fiscally and in terms of technological innovations and development strategies, Rombet, which now has more than 50 members, consisting of national and international companies, has continued and developed its activity during this year that is coming to an end through the multitude of events during which the Rombet management team has successfully represented the members of the association, as well as through the series of free information seminars that have also been very successful in 2017.

Rombet started the year strong in February, by participating in the most successful edition of ICE Totally Gaming so far, which gathered over 500 exhibitors from more than 60 countries and regions, the event this year being the largest in history with more than 40,000 square meters of exhibition space.The conditions for the exchange of information and ideas were created, and the Rombet representatives had the opportunity to emphasize once again the openness and the advantages that foreign investors can find on the local gambling market. “BMM Testlabs, Kiron Interactive, Newton, EveryMatrix, BetConstruct, Scientific Games, Playtech, Mohio Gaming Competence, Vermantia are just some of the exhibitors that received special attention from us. We talked extensively about business development, the Romanian legislation, and the prospects for the year 2017, and in all discussions we have emphasized that those interested in the gambling market in our country, both those already present and those who plan to come in the near future, will find in Rombet all the support for legislation, taxation, partners, etc.”, said the president of the association, Mr. Dan Alexandru Ghiță about participating in the most important gambling event in Europe.

In May, in Prague, during the EGR Online Gambling Briefing, Eastern Europe, Mr. Bogdan Coman, Managing Director of the Rombet Association, spoke in the panel titled “Building further: diversification and innovation in Central and Eastern Europe”, emphasizing that at least for the near future in our country, online activities will remain connected to offline activities, both in terms of current legislation and the strategies of operators who adapt their offers in the online environment, promoting the most successful products of the land-based environment. Innovation and legislation were also discussed at the Euromat Gaming Summit, which took place in June in Berlin, where Mr. Dan Alexandru Ghiţă, President Rombet, had the opportunity to sit with more than 500 important representatives including Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Wishing to provide its members with quick and easy access to the most important news in the industry, the Rombet team went to London in September where two extremely important conferences took place: World Regulatory Briefing and Betting on Sports, the first of which involved discussions on the theme of Responsible Gaming. At the event organized by Rombet’s long-time partner, Clarion Events, Bogdan Coman, the CEO of the association, had the opportunity to participate in very interesting panels, supported by prominent speakers such as the Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Committee and the representatives of some of the most successful companies in the industry (Skybet, Mr. Green, Betsson, Betway, etc.). And, whether they were talking about perceptions, strategies and legislation, or about concrete examples and the results of the RG projects, there was a single conclusion: responsible gaming must receive the attention it deserves. “As if it were still necessary, the London event once again reinforced the idea that organizers and legislators alike must work together if we want a healthy industry with balanced players. We hope that we will also contribute to this goal”, Mr Coman said.

Internationally, this year ends with the Rombet team having been present at 3 other major events: CEEGC – Budapest, EiG – Berlin and EEGS – Sofia. In Budapest, Rombet’s Chief Executive had the opportunity to moderate the panel entitled “Gambling Opportunities in the Balkans”, where, together with famous guests such as Mirjana Acimovic (Jakta & Euromat) and Hrvoje Vincetic (Adriatic Casino) the prospects of the gambling industry in the region were discussed. From Berlin, the representatives of the association returned with the message to incorporate the new technologies in the operators’ development strategies as much as possible, important names in the field such as BetGames TV, BtoBet, Twispay, Betgenius being just a few of the companies that showed interest in joining Rombet in the near future.

If the international presence of the association was very intense, Rombet was also extremely active locally. The year 2017 brought no less than 12 new members and 9 free seminars, organized both in the capital and in the country, and the representatives of the association did not miss the most important event dedicated to the gambling field in our country. Rombet participated, in September 2017, in the 11th edition of E Arena 2017, the exhibition being a real success, and the Rombet team gladly welcomed at the exhibition stand of the association the intentions of companies established both in Romania and in the European region, especially the Balkans, to join Rombet. “The great number of attendants at this year’s E Arena is proof of a mature industry that aims for – and at least to date, succeeds in – a constant and permanent development. As far as our role is concerned, Rombet acts as leverage for our international partners, enabling operators in other markets to access free information so that their licensing process in Romania is as easy and fast as possible”, said the association’s representatives.  

Rombet representatives also invited the operators working in our country and interested in a correct understanding and application of the legislation in force to a series of seminars on various topics of interest this year.   One by one, in Bucharest (February and May), Oradea and Bistrița (March), Iași (May) and Timișoara (June), Mr. Anchidim Zăgrean, vice-president of Rombet and an expert with over 15 years of experience in the field, spoke extensively about the “Fiscal Code News” and the “Tax and Accounting of Gambling, Theoretical and Practical Issues” to an audience that was very interested and eager for information. “By these information seminars, where participation is not only free of charge, but is also not conditional upon membership in the association, we, Rombet, propose two important things: those involved in gambling should be kept up to date with all changes in the regulations applicable to the field and the application of the legal provisions should be done in a correct manner, observing the specifics of this activity”, said Mr. Anchidim Zăgrean. And, if the first part of the year was dedicated to information and education, the three seminars this autumn, held in Cluj, Iași and Bucharest, debated the theme “The organization and control of gambling and the consequences of non-compliance with legal provisions.” The participants, in great numbers each time, had the opportunity to discuss and ask questions on other topics of interest such as “joint venture” and “news regarding the Fiscal Code and the Code of Fiscal Procedure”.

“Accurate presentation, concise information, and professionalism are just a few of the words that those present at our events used when we asked them to give us feedback after attending these seminars. Such feedback, the growing interest from organizers and beyond, as well as the need for those working in the field to be informed, have urged us to continue the series of seminars. Such initiatives are needed if we want our industry to grow further and attract the interest of foreign operators. We, Rombet, have invested a lot of energy and resources in the recent years and will continue to do so by participating in international and national events, organizing information seminars and representing our members in the relationship with the ONJN. For a strong industry, strong players are needed, whether operators or associations, and Rombet aims to strengthen its status as the largest association in the field of gambling in 2018”, concluded Mr. Dan Alexandru Ghiţă, the Rombet Executive.