Public Affairs Perspective: Navigating the European and Romanian Gambling Regulatory Landscape

Wednesday, 19 June 2024

By Codruț Cîrligeanu, Senior Government Relations Associate at Public Affairs Solutions

The gambling industry in Europe, including Romania, faces continuous challenges due to evolving regulatory landscapes. Recently, Romania implemented a ban on gambling venues in towns with fewer than 15,000 residents. Despite these hurdles, the industry remains highly compliant with European regulations, committed to responsible gambling practices, and supportive of Romania’s economic development.

The European Union allows individual member states to regulate gambling, resulting in a diverse regulatory landscape. However, several EU-wide initiatives aim to harmonize standards and protect consumers with measures such as:

  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directives: The EU has strengthened AML requirements, emphasizing enhanced due diligence and stricter reporting obligations to prevent financial crimes within the gambling sector (sources: European Gaming Industry News, IMGL).
  • Consumer Protection: New regulations enforce stricter advertising rules, ensuring transparency and responsible gambling messages in all promotional materials. This includes clear disclosures of terms and conditions and age verification to protect minors (sources: European Gaming Industry News, CMS Law Now).
  • Cross-Border Cooperation: Efforts to harmonize regulations across member states continue, with initiatives like the European Online Gambling Regulation Cooperation Forum promoting best practices and regulatory cooperation (sources: European Gaming Industry News, IMGL).

gambling industry

On the other side, Romania has recently updated its gambling laws, focusing on increasing tax revenues from foreign operators and enhancing regulatory oversight. A significant recent change is the ban on gambling venues in small towns and rural areas with fewer than 15,000 residents. The key changes are the following:

  • Ban on Gambling Venues in Small Towns: This new law, known as the “law of slot machines,” prohibits gambling venues in towns with fewer than 15,000 residents, which affects about 90% of Romania’s localities (sources: Euronews, iGamingBusiness, Focus Gaming News). The industry, while compliant, has expressed concerns about the need for a transitional period to adapt to these significant changes.
  • Taxation and Licensing: Higher taxes on foreign online gambling operators and stricter licensing requirements have been implemented, affecting their profitability and market strategies (sources: European Gaming Industry News, CMS Law Now).
  • Consumer Protection: New measures include mandatory self-exclusion tools, deposit limits, and time management features to help prevent gambling addiction and fraud (sources: European Gaming Industry News, IMGL).

The Romanian Government is also considering a complete ban on gambling advertising. The National Audiovisual Council (CNA) supports this initiative, reflecting growing public pressure and political will to restrict gambling promotions. Current legislative proposals aim to prohibit gambling advertisements across all media platforms, including television, radio, and online, from 06:00 to 23:00. Exceptions are being discussed, such as allowing limited advertising during live sports broadcasts, accompanied by responsible gambling messages (sources: IMGL, GamblingNews, CMS Law Now).

Public Affairs Solutions

The regulatory changes present both challenges and opportunities. Compliance demands are high, but effective dialogue strategies can help operators adapt and shape future regulations. The industry in Romania is particularly noteworthy for its adherence to EU regulations and its proactive approach to responsible gambling and contributing to the Romanian economy’s development.

Despite the stringent regulations and the recent ban in small towns, the gambling industry in Romania remains dedicated to compliance and responsible practices. The industry advocates for a transitional period to adapt to new laws effectively and continues to support the development of the Romanian economy through responsible operations and adherence to European standards (source: G3 Newswire).

As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, gambling operators must stay informed and proactive. Understanding and adapting to these changes is crucial for sustainable growth and maintaining consumer trust. The Romanian gambling industry exemplifies this adaptability and commitment to regulatory compliance and economic contribution. Additionally, the industry must prioritize sustainable public affairs campaigns designed by experienced professionals and adopt a long-term approach to dialogue with authorities to ensure a harmonious regulatory environment and foster mutual trust.

Author: Editor

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