Although it’s summer, the gambling industry isn’t on vacation. As it functions within one of Romania’s most regulated activity sectors, the companies in the industry work full-time, currently undergoing a process of adapting to the legislation, regardless if to specific regulations or general regulations, which also focus on other sectors.
One of the regulations that the industry is most interested in at the present time is Law 129/2019 for the prevention and fight against money-laundering and financing terrorism, which transposes an European Directive, the fourth in this field. As it always intended, ROMSLOT, being a trustworthy partner within the dialog with the state institutions, has gotten actively involved in this process from the very beginning, when the law was still debated by the Government and then the Parliament.
As to have a clear image upon vulnerabilities, but also upon the opportunities Romania’s slot machine industry can use as to comply to the new rigors imposed both at national and European level, ROMSLOT, alongside the other profile associations, has performed a risk analysis by means one of the companies within the “Big 4”. This research, which confirms one of the hypotheses launched by the European Commission within the risk analyses dedicated to gambling and which does not place slot machines among the sectors vulnerable to networks involved in money-laundering and financing terrorism, is an instrument which is more than necessary. Having this clear image, the areas which require additional efforts in the compliance process have been identified.
Furthermore, for a more participative and coherent approach of the authorities’ undertakings, ROMSLOT has sent this study to the 2 regulatory authorities in the field, that is the National Office for Prevention and Fight Against Money-laundering and the National Office for Gambling. The ROMSLOT representatives claim that a better alignment is the optimal solution for the industry’s sustainability, especially in the context in which the fifth European Directive on the fight against money-laundering is to be implemented. As on other occasions, ROMSLOT wishes to contribute as much as possible to this process by implementing a set of good practices for the industry, with regards to the prevention and fight against money-laundering.
As a first step, the representatives of ROMSLOT’s member companies have been present at the seminary on The Prevention and Fight Against Money-Laundering and Financing Terrorism in the field of Gambling, which took place in July and had as speakers Steluța Claudia Oncică – Director of the ONPCSB, Magda Bucurescu – Financial Analyst of the ONPCSB, Georgeta Ana Petre – Financial Analyst of the ONPCSB and Mihaela Dăescu – Financial Analyst of the ONPCSB. Within the event, the representatives of the slot machine sector communicated directly with the regulators and asked questions in the interest of operators.
At operational level, the ROMSLOT member companies did not wait for the law to enter into force, which happened in July, and they begun the implementation of measures within specialized departments from the moment the law was adopted by the Parliament.
At association level, ROMSLOT aims at organizing a series of workshops in the following period, in order to facilitate their compliance with the Law. ROMSLOT wishes to register a great participation to these workshops on behalf of operators, regardless if they are or are not members of ROMSLOT, as these workshops focus on a measure that shall have an impact on the market as a whole, and the alignment of the entire market to the KYC procedures shall make both the authorities’ control and the operators’ functioning easier.
The gambling market has consolidated in recent years, and the contribution to the state budget from this sector has increased by almost 50% in the last 5 years. We are speaking about a market that is becoming more and more stable, and a sign of maturity is a better compliance on behalf of the operators, in order to demonstrate that the gambling industry is a trustworthy partner of the state and a correct and responsible industry.
In this respect, ROMSLOT shall collaborate with the body that has to draft the technical norms subsequent to Law 129/2019, ONJN, and the other players on the market, as to reach a set of applicable measures, and offer a functioning framework which is as correct and as predictable as possible.