Wednesday, 31 January 2024

The start of this year finds the gambling industry in a position it has not been in for a very long time. The legislative changes of the fateful October 2023 have generated a lot of controversy, have effectively stunned licensed operators and those providing related activities, have effectively driven the whole industry to despair, both by the lack of clarity of the provisions and by the multiple and unreal interpretations.

APONJN – Asociația Partenerilor și Organizatorilor Neafiliați de Jocuri de Noroc

The new obligations, fiscal and otherwise, have turned the operational services of gaming organisers upside down, have put legal service providers in this sector in impossible situations and have almost ruled out the possibility of operating in the normality to which we had just become accustomed.

The frequent changes (it should not be forgotten that the fee and some of the operating rules of the gambling operation service underwent annual changes – the license fee for slot machines was 25,000 euro/year, then 75,000 euro/year and now 150,000 euro/year), have shaken up the national gambling market, and together with the reorganization of the ONJN, have created a real chaos in the gambling industry.

The associations in the sector have endeavoured to have a dialogue with the authorities, with political decision-makers, in the desire to present a realistic point of view on the new measures, but they have come up against a wall that seems to have been specially built to destabilise one of the industries that make a major contribution to the state budget.

The need to be taken into account and to place the gambling industry in the sphere of enter­tainment services, as it is natural and as it is posi-tioned in countries with consolidated democracy, led to the creation, at the end of 2023, of APONJN – Association of Non-affiliated Gambling Partners and Organisers, an associative structure that wishes to join the other associations in the field and with which it hopes to make itself heard and understood by the authorities that manage this sector.

APONJN seeks to co-opt, alongside the gambling operators, the companies that provide related activities (licensed class II by the ONJN), the traditional partners of the gambling operators (owners of commercial premises, bars, hotel premises, etc.), but also the service providers used by the industry (internet, telephony, etc., creators of utility software, psychology offices), together with whom to identify the most reliable solutions, in line with the latest legislative changes, in the direction of cultivating win-win businesses, for companies, but also for customers.

Our association has open doors for both pro­fessional players and public people who want to get involved in educating the younger gene­ration and in preventing/ fighting addictions. We want to co-opt natural and legal persons, well acquainted with the field, who support through their expertise, the development of activities accepted by society and regulated by the legislator as close to reality as possible.

Unlike the existing associations, we are trying to co-opt other categories of companies, organi-zations and people involved in the gambling area (not only 1st and 2nd class licensees), in order to provide a real radiography of the gambling industry and especially to identify the social and budgetary requirements that will allow, as soon as possible, to place our industry in its rightful place, as part of the entertainment industry, alongside HORECA.

A major focus will be on changing the public’s perception of gambling and, in particular, policy­makers’ views of the currently blacklisted gam­bling industry. We will try to translate into every­day life the reality that „gambling is not a way to get rich quick, without work, but just an entertain-ment activity”, which should be perceived and treated as such by gamblers.

To this end, the Association aims to identify partners and ways to help and explain, in a way that is understandable to everyone, that there is very little chance of beating a slot machine (when talking about slot machines), that chance is an essential attribute in gambling (lotto or bingo games), that cognitive skills and intelligence are only a small part of the attributes possessed by the player (when talking about sports betting or card games) and that gambling is about socia-lising, common sense and intelligence.

Another APONJN’s goal will be to get involved in the prevention / fight against fraud and money laundering, in which sense it has prepared and will make available to those interested an e-learning platform (, which will ensure the training of operational staff in this area, to easily identify suspicious transactions and cash transactions to be reported to the National Office for the Prevention and Fight against Money Laundering (ONPCSB).

Analysis of the statistical data on the ONPCSB website shows that gambling operators are in second place (after banks) in the hierarchy of reporting entities for cash transactions, with 4,096 reports submitted to the ONPCSB in 2022, but that there is no reporting for suspicious transactions. In terms of training of staff in the field, the Association, through the platform, provides materials for compliance with GDPR legislation, as well as customised applications for licensed operators.


Another major issue is the representation of the members in the Advisory Board of the ONJN and in FEDBET, in order to support the points of view having an impact on the gambling industry in our country. APONJN has also started to conclude protocols with other associations in the field of gambling, but also with other representative NGOs, involved in social, medical and cultural life, in order to create communication levers and to succeed in creating a real image of what traditional and online gambling represents, the opportunities offered by these entertainment services, but also to fight and prevent specific addictions.

The fact that the gambling industry in Romania has been subjected, lately, to a real heavy artillery fire from politicians, combined with the year of the 4 rounds of elections, but also with the social impact of throwing into the market, through the media, some exceptional and unfortunate situations (addicts, thefts, burglaries, too visible locations, aggressive advertising, etc.), represents a real danger for the gambling industry which, through the profile associations, must face these challenges.

Together with the President of the ONJN, Mr. Gheorghe Gabriel Gheorghe and together with the Advisory Council, we will identify acceptable solutions for the gambling industry and for the Romanian state, which will allow gambling in Romania to function normally.

Finally, we reiterate that APONJN wishes to be the promoter of balance in terms of the activity carried out by the licensed operators, asking the members and the other actors in the land-based and remote gambling market for responsibility, transparency and fair play. The Association aims to highlight the national gambling industry in the entertainment sphere, as it is natural and as it is identified in civilized countries, for which it will campaign to educate young people and interested persons, through information activities and even panels to explain the risks and benefits of participating in gambling.

Author: Editor

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