Gaming Law 2019

Last Updated November 25, 2019

Romania

Law and Practice

Authors



Simion & Baciu is a partnership formed as a spin-off of several lawyers and consultants from the largest and oldest law firm in Romania. It is active in various areas of law and regulated industries, in particular media, technology, intellectual property and life sciences, with a notable focus on gambling and entertainment, consumer protection and advertising. The firm is currently led by three partners, and also includes four associates with expertise in IP, gambling and gaming, privacy and personal data processing, corporate, and M&A.

More than three years after the reformation of the Romanian gambling framework, the local market can be characterised as being relatively mature in all its relevant sectors. At the time of writing, there are 22 operators licensed for online gambling (which includes several international operators) and more than 300 B2B licensed providers.

Regarding land-based gambling, the most developed areas remain those of slot-machine gaming (more than 270 licensed operators) and fixed-odds betting (27 licensed operators).

From a regulatory perspective, the sector-specific instructions that must be enacted by the gambling regulator for the application of the new AML national legislation, which transposes the 4th AML Directive, are likely to have an impact in the near future.

Since January 2019, the Romanian gambling market has been affected by the introduction and increase of certain taxes, as follows:

  • a 2% tax on players' deposits has been introduced in relation to online gambling; online operators are required to pay this tax to the Romanian state on a monthly basis; and
  • the authorisation tax for slot-machine gaming (the most developed land-based sector) has been increased from EUR2,600/machine/year to EUR3,600/machine/year.

Where the following sectors are marked as permitted, this means that the respective categories of games of chance are permitted subject to obtaining the necessary licence and authorisation.

Betting

Betting activities are permitted under Romanian law, and the gambling legislation expressly regulates three types of online betting: fixed-odds betting, exchange betting and mutual betting.

Bingo

Online bingo is permitted, and the online bingo licence covers also keno games.

Casino

Online casino is permitted, and the casino licence covers also covers online poker and online slot-machine gaming.

Lotteries

Online lottery games are restricted since this category falls under the monopoly of the Romanian National Lottery.

Fantasy Sports

Fantasy sports are not expressly regulated under the Romanian gambling legislation. If this activity does not fulfil the mandatory conditions of gambling (for further details please see 3.2 Definition of Gambling), then fantasy sports should fall outside of the gambling legal framework.

Social Gaming

Social gaming is not expressly regulated under the Romanian gambling legislation. If this activity does not fulfil the mandatory conditions of gambling (for further details please see 3.2 Definition of Gambling), then social gaming should fall outside of the gambling legal framework.

Poker

Online poker is permitted, and is included in the category of online casino games.

Other Relevant Sectors

Tombola/raffles

Tombola games are permitted under the Romanian legislation as an express category of online gambling.

Any other types of games of chance, namely new games of chance or combinations of games

This generic category includes any product that fulfils the cumulative conditions of games of chance and is not expressly defined by the gambling regulation. The legal regime of such unregulated products will be established by the local regulator based on the game rules and description presented by the organiser.

Where the following sectors are marked as permitted, this means that the respective categories of games of chance are permitted subject to obtaining the necessary licence and authorisation/s.

Betting

Betting activities are permitted under Romanian law, and the gambling legislation expressly regulates three types of land-based betting: fixed-odds betting, exchange betting and mutual betting.

Poker

Poker is permitted under Romanian law, and the gambling legislation expressly regulates land-based poker clubs.

Bingo

Bingo is permitted, with the Romanian legislation regulating two types of land-based bingo games: bingo performed in specialised bingo halls, and bingo organised via television networks.

Casino

Casino is permitted in Romania, with the gambling legislation regulating in detail the regime of the land-based casino licence.

Gaming Machines

Gaming machines are permitted in Romania. The legislation regulates three categories of slot-machine gaming: slot-machines with unlimited stakes and winnings; electronic devices awarding winnings with limited risk (AWPs); and video-lottery machines (VLT).

Lotteries

Land-based lottery games are restricted since this category falls under the monopoly of the Romanian National Lottery.

Other Relevant Sectors

Tombola/raffles

Tombola games are permitted under the Romanian legislation as an express category of land-based gambling.

Temporary games

Land-based casino games, slot-machine games with unlimited stakes and winnings, and land-based bingo that takes place in tourist resorts or on leisure crafts qualify as temporary games of chance and are subject to a special temporary licence and authorisation, which is valid for a period of three months.

A distinct category of temporary games is represented by poker festivals, which are defined by the law as temporary events organised in tourist resorts or other locations, and consist of poker tournaments performed exclusively between the participants.

Any other types of games of chance, namely new games of chance or combinations of games

This generic category includes any product that fulfils the cumulative conditions of games of chance and is not expressly defined by the gambling regulation. The legal regime of such unregulated products will be established by the local regulator based on the game rules and description presented by the organiser.

The conditions under which the organisation and operation of games of chance are permitted in Romania are outlined in the following normative acts:

  • Government Emergency Ordinance No. 77/2009 on the organisation and operation of games of chance (GEO 77/2009);
  • Government Decision No. 111/2016 for the approval of the Methodological Norms for the implementation of Government Emergency Ordinance No. 77/2009 on the organisation and operation of games of chance (GD 111/2016);
  • Government Emergency Ordinance No. 20/2013 on the establishment, organisation and functioning of the National Gambling Office; and
  • Government Decision No. 298/2013 on the organisation and functioning of the National Gambling Office.

Gambling activities are also regulated by means of instructions, orders or decisions issued by the National Gambling Office in relation to various aspects of gambling activity, such as the certification of online gambling platforms, interconnection protocols and reporting requirements for slot-machines, reporting of the revenues obtained by both land-based and online operators, etc.

Moreover, certain specific requirements in the field of anti-money laundering and the prevention of terrorism are also applicable to gambling activities, and are generally contained in Law. 129/2019, enacted in July 2019, which implements the 4th AML Directive.

Gambling is defined by GEO 77/2009 as activity that has the following cumulative characteristics:

  • participation fee;
  • random selection of the results on which the game is based;
  • monetary winnings; and
  • public offering of the respective game by the organiser to the participants.

Land-based gambling activities are defined as all games of chance – irrespective of whether or not they are expressly regulated by GEO 77/2009 – that fulfil the legal conditions related to a game of chance, are performed through gaming means installed in Romania, and are not transmitted or performed through any kind of communication system (internet, landline or mobile telephone or any other transmission systems).

Online gambling activities are defined as all games of chance – irrespective of whether or not they are expressly regulated by GEO 77/2009 – that fulfil the legal conditions applicable for a game of chance and are performed through communication systems of any kind (internet, landline or mobile telephone or any other transmission system).

In principle, failure to observe the legal requirements in the field of gambling may lead to civil, administrative or criminal sanctions.

By way of example, administrative liability may be triggered when:

  • the organiser of land-based gambling activities allows individuals to participate in games of chance without having valid identity documents in their possession;
  • the gambling organiser, without distinction between land-based and online activities, does not pay the participants the winnings obtained from gambling in three business days, provided that the conditions imposed on the participant in relation to the proof of winnings are fulfilled; or
  • the gambling organiser, without distinction between land-based and online activities, fails to notify the National Gambling Office, within a certain deadline, about any modifications that have occurred to the data on the basis of which the licence and the authorisation were granted.

Failure of the gambling organiser to comply with the legal requirements can also lead to the suspension or revocation of the licence by the National Gambling Office.

Operating games of chance without being granted the required licence and authorisation constitutes a criminal offence. Criminal liability may also be triggered when the following gaming products are offered to players:

  • fraudulent games of chance;
  • games of chance through radio channels or through other assimilated transmission means;
  • games of chance based on the results of clandestine competitions (such as dog fighting, which is expressly forbidden by the Romanian legislation, illegal car racing, etc);
  • clandestine games of chance, where the results of the game are influenced by the skill of the person handling the game for the purpose of obtaining revenues, rather than being random; and
  • competition games with winnings of any type through telephone lines or other communication systems, television or radio where the granting of prizes is based solely on the accuracy of the answers provided to general questions, which involve a participation fee.

With respect to the participants in games of chance, according to GEO 77/2009, any individual who participates in Romania in online gambling operated by an unlicensed or unauthorised operator shall face administrative fines ranging from RON5,000 (approx. EUR1,000) to RON10,000 (approx. EUR2,000), thus triggering the administrative liability of the player (but not criminal liability).

Operating games of chance without being granted the required licence and authorisation constitutes a criminal offence and shall be punished with imprisonment from one month to one year, or with a fine. Additional sanctions applicable for the criminal offence of unlicensed gambling are that the gambling operator would be dissolved and the amounts derived from the unlawful activity would be confiscated.

At the time of writing, there are several pieces of legislation pending enactment which are relevant for the gambling industry, as follows:

  • the draft order of the National Gambling Office regulating the new set of certification requirements for land-based slot-machine gaming;
  • the order/instructions of the National Gambling Office with respect to the application of the new AML regime in the gambling sector; and
  • a legislative proposal meant to introduce more restrictions in terms of gambling advertising and new obligations in terms of responsible gambling.

The public authority competent to supervise the Romanian gambling market is the National Gambling Office (NOG), a specialised body of the central public administration subordinated to the Romanian Government, which has enforcement prerogatives and is also competent to grant licences and authorisations.

The new legal framework for gambling activities was created in 2015-2016, when several pieces of legislation regulating the performance of gambling in Romania were enacted. The NOG has issued licences and authorisations by applying the new legislation rather literally, so one may argue that the authority’s approach in terms of regulation is rather prescriptive.

Romanian legislation regulates the following types of licences:

  • Class 1 licence and related authorisation/s – these are the permits that must be obtained by a B2C operator in order to offer gambling services on the Romanian market (irrespective of whether it relates to land-based or online gambling);
  • Class 2 licence – this licence is required for B2B providers specialised in the gambling industry which are supplying products/services to B2C operators licensed in Romania. The categories of B2B suppliers for which the NOG has issued Class 2 licences are as follows:
    1. manufacturers, distributors and other entities performing activities with gaming means or gaming components (note: this type of Class 2 licence is relevant for the land-based sector);
    2. software providers;
    3. providers of platform management and hosting services;
    4. providers of live casino streaming services;
    5. certification laboratories, auditors and conformity assessment bodies;
    6. payment processors; and
    7. marketing affiliates.
  • Class 3 licence – this licence is granted by the benefit of the law to the Romanian National Lottery, which has a legal monopoly over the organisation of land-based and online lottery games.

Class 1 and Class 2 licences are readily available, provided that the respective B2C or B2B operators meet the applicable licensing requirements. The Class 3 licence is granted only to the Romanian National Lottery.

The Class 1 licence is valid for ten years and may be renewed for identical periods of time, while the authorisation is generally granted for one year (with the exception of the authorisation for land-based temporary games, which is valid for three months) and must be renewed/prolonged on an annual basis.

The Class 2 licence is also valid for ten years, subject to the payment of the annual licence fee within the applicable deadline.

As a core rule, only operators based in the EU, EEA or Swiss Confederation may apply for a licence and authorisation.

Licensing Process for Land-Based Gambling

In order to perform land-based gambling activities, any gambling operator must obtain a Class 1 licence and one or several authorisations. While the licensing procedure is not product-specific, the authorisation must be obtained for each type of gambling activity intended to be performed.

In order to obtain the licence, the operator must submit an application request along with several corporate and operational documents related to the legal entity itself, as well as its directors and shareholders. Such documentation includes criminal record checks for each director and shareholder, and affidavits given by the director/s disclosing, among other aspects, the ultimate beneficial owner of the company (25% shareholding being the relevant threshold for the ultimate beneficial owner).

The authorisation can be obtained by an operator that has previously been granted a Class 1 licence. However, the regulation allows an operator to submit licence and authorisation applications at the same time, provided that the necessary conditions are fulfilled for each of these. The conditions for obtaining the authorisation vary in accordance with the type of gambling activity sought to be performed, and refer to operational aspects (such as the game rules for each game offered to the players and the configuration of the gambling premises) or technical requirements (such as certification of the gambling equipment or development of the reporting solution to the NOG of the aggregated financial and operational data).

Licensing Process for Online Gambling

To a certain extent, the licensing and authorisation requirements for land-based gambling also apply to online activities; the observations mentioned above regarding the documentation for directors and shareholders are also applicable in connection with the online licence.

However, while authorisation must be obtained for each type of activity (or machine, as the case may be) in land-based gambling, in the case of online gambling, only one authorisation is to be obtained for all activities conducted on the same gambling platform (which can be connected to one or several internet domain names).

Other particular conditions applicable for an operator applying for a licence and authorisation to perform online gambling relate mainly to technical and operational requirements.

Thus, the applicant is required to have its entire IT system audited by a specialised testing laboratory that holds a Class 2 licence, while the gambling software must be certified by a Class 2 licensed certifier, as must the random number generator and return-to-player percentage for each game. In terms of the necessary infrastructure, if the main gaming server is not located in Romania, the operator must establish safe and mirror servers in Romania in order for the NOG to be able to monitor the activity related to the Romanian market and verify any incidents that occur. In brief, while the safe server stores rough replica data of the information from the gaming server, the mirror server must contain centralised reports summarising the daily activity and financial results obtained by the operator.

On the operational side, among other requirements, operators that are not Romanian-based companies are required to appoint an authorised representative (a Romanian legal or natural person) to act as the representative of the operator in relation to the Romanian state authorities.

In accordance with the regulation, the complete licensing documentation must be submitted with the regulator at least nine business days before the NOG Supervisory Committee’s meeting. The Supervisory Committee is the body within the NOG that approves licence applications during its periodical meetings; such meetings are generally organised twice a month.

Pursuant to GEO 77/2009, licence applications shall be resolved within 30 days from the date of submission of the complete documentation. However, considering that the NOG has the competence to request any additional documents or information deemed necessary, in practice the licensing and authorisation procedure generally exceeds the initial 30-day timeframe provided by the law.

The regulation does not impose any fees in relation to the application for a land-based licence and/or authorisation.

However, for an online licence, the applicant is required to pay an administrative fee of EUR2,500 for the review of the licensing documentation. Online operators are also required to pay an EUR8,500 fee for the issuance of the licence.

Annual Fees for Land-Based Gambling

In the case of land-based gambling, licensed operators are required to pay an annual licence tax in the form of a flat-fee for a specific amount, depending on the type of land-based games operated. The licence tax may range from EUR5,000/year for tombola or poker clubs, to EUR95,000/year for land-based casinos.

Land-based operators must also pay an annual authorisation tax, which is calculated by reference to the following criteria:

  • operator’s revenue: in the case of betting activities, bingo broadcast on television and tombola/raffles, the authorisation tax represents 16% of the operator’s revenue, but can be no less than a specific amount varying depending on the type of game (EUR90,000 for betting; EUR115,000 for bingo on television); and
  • number of locations/gaming means: land-based casinos incur an authorisation tax of EUR60,000/table (for Bucharest) or EUR30,000/table (for outside of Bucharest), and each slot-machine with unlimited winnings requires an authorisation tax of EUR3,600; for bingo performed in gaming halls, the operator is bound to pay an authorisation tax of EUR7,000/location + 3% of the value of the printed cards mandatorily purchased from the Romanian National Printing House.

The legislation also imposes certain special taxes for the following categories of land-based gambling:

  • entry fee for casinos (RON50 – approx. EUR10) and poker clubs (RON30 – approx. EUR7); and
  • vice tax for unlimited winnings slot-machines and video-lottery machines of EUR 400/post(terminal)/year.

As a separate payment obligation, organisers of land-based games of chance are required to pay a responsible gambling contribution of EUR1,000/year.

Annual Fees for Online Gambling

An operator of online gambling must pay an annual licence tax calculated by reference to the operator’s turnover, ranging from EUR6,000/year (for an annual turnover of less than EUR500,000) to EUR120,000/year (for a turnover exceeding EUR10 million).

The authorisation tax for online gambling is also paid on an annual basis and amounts to 16% of the income obtained from gambling activities (GGR), but can not be less than EUR100,000/year.

Online licensed operators are also required to pay an annual responsible gambling contribution of EUR5,000.

Taxes for Licensed B2B Providers

B2B providers holding a Class 2 licence are obliged to pay an annual licence tax of EUR6,000/licence and also a responsible gambling contribution of EUR1,000/year. Based on the regulator’s practice, this contribution is calculated based on the number of Class 2 licences held by a certain B2B supplier.

Pursuant to GEO 77/2009 and GD 111/2016, land-based gambling activities may be operated only in specialised locations, which are outlined below.

Casinos

Casinos are the specialised locations used for the operation of games of chance characteristic to casinos. The surface area and structure of casinos must enable the installation of gaming equipment and other technical devices needed to carry out the specific activity, and they must be located in buildings intended for use as business premises or in hotels with a minimum 3-star rating. Casinos are subject to minimal legal requirements with regard to the location of the premises, surface and safety equipment.

Betting Agencies

Betting agencies are the specialised locations for betting activities in which at least one dependent betting terminal must be operated and that cumulatively meet several specific conditions in terms of minimum surface, mandatory equipment, etc.

Locations for Operation of Slot-Machines

All premises used for operation of slot-machine gaming, irrespective of the type of slot-machine, are subject to certain restrictions in relation to the advertising of the premises, as follows:

  • organisers will prevent viewing of the activities carried out within the respective premises; and
  • organisers will not suggest gambling activities by using images, text or other symbols.

Locations for Operation of Bingo Games

Pursuant to GD 111/2016, bingo games performed in specialised gaming halls may only take place in locations within specialised premises or business premises, which are registered as the organiser’s main or secondary office and which meet a set of mandatory conditions in relation to the logistic organisation – sufficient electrical lighting system, air-conditioning system, sound system, safety-related requirements, back-up electrical circuit, etc.

The legislative changes likely to occur in the near future for the land-based gambling sector stem from the following pieces of pending legislation:

  • the draft order of the National Gambling Office regulating the new set of certification requirements for land-based slot-machine gaming; and
  • the order/instructions of the National Gambling Office with respect to the application of the new AML regime in the gambling sector.

The online B2C licence allows the operator to offer the products/activities covered by the respective licence on the Romanian platform. The Romanian platform must encapsulate all players with Romanian IP addresses as well as all Romanian citizens who do not have their fiscal residence established in a foreign jurisdiction.

The B2B licence allows the licensed supplier to perform the activities covered by the respective licence in Romania. As a particularity of the Romanian legislation, B2B licences are not granted for specific products (such as a specific set of games, gambling platforms, etc) but refer to generic B2B activities – for example, “production and distribution of gambling software”, “provision of hosting facilities”, etc.

As mentioned in 4.3 Types of Licences, affiliates wishing to operate on the Romanian market are required to obtain a specific Class 2 licence from the National Gambling Office. The regulation defines an affiliate as any natural or legal person who obtains revenues on the basis of a contract concluded with a B2C online operator as a result of the participation in gambling of players redirected by the affiliate on the website/platform of the B2C operator.

Besides the general obligation of paying the annual licence fee and responsible gambling contribution, licensed affiliates also have the express legal obligation of sending all affiliation contracts concluded with B2C operators to the NOG.

The Romanian gambling legislation does not specifically regulate the possibility of using white-label providers. 

The regulation sets forth that licences are nominal and allow operation only for the holder of the licence. As an exception to this general rule, GD 111/2016 provides the possibility to create joint ventures, in which it is sufficient for only one of the entities involved to hold the gambling licence. However, joint operation entails joint liability for all parties involved.

The online gambling sector is likely to be affected in the near future by the fact that the National Gambling Office is required to issue sector-specific guidelines/instructions for the application of the new AML regime in Romania (transposing the 4th AML Directive).

The primary tool to prevent unlicensed gambling activities is the “blacklist” of unlicensed gambling websites, which is managed by the NOG and currently comprises more than 1,100 internet domain names. The legislation sets forth that internet service providers (ISPs) and all service suppliers for the gambling industry, including payment processors, are bound to comply with the decisions taken by the regulator in relation to unlicensed websites. Specific reference is made to ISPs that are required to ban access to the blacklisted websites (as well as to those websites promoting unlicensed gambling) under the sanction of a fine ranging from RON50,000 (approx. EUR10,500) to RON100,000 (approx. EUR21,000).

The gambling regulatory framework is focused on protecting minors and preventing their access to gambling, as well as ensuring the integrity and transparency of gambling activities and maintaining a fair game system that is constantly supervised.

All entities that are involved in the gambling industry and hold a licence granted by the Romanian regulator (both land-based and online operators, as well as licensed B2B providers) are required, pursuant to GEO 77/2009, to pay an annual responsible gambling contribution to a public activity whose main purpose is to finance programmes and activities aimed at ensuring a responsible gambling environment and preventing gambling addiction cases.

Regarding online gambling, the legislation specifically provides that the platforms must be designed to enable responsible gambling functions, such as setting daily, weekly or monthly deposit limits, the possibility of players permanently or temporarily self-excluding from gambling, etc. Further on, the platform must also have embedded a “reality-check” feature in the form of a warning message posted automatically every 60 minutes, which must inform the player about the amount of time spent gambling.

Online operators are also obliged to inform a player who opted to self-exclude about the possibility of receiving counselling and treatment against gambling addiction in a treatment centre.

The 4th AML Directive has been transposed in Romania by Law 129/2019, and the new AML legal regime shall be fully in force from January 2020. By the end of November 2019, the NOG is legally required to issue instructions regarding the application of the new AML obligations in the gambling sector.

Once the new AML legal framework is fully in force, all licensed gambling operators (both land-based and online) shall be required to comply with several AML/CFT-related obligations, such as specific customer due diligence, reporting of suspicious transactions, implementation of AML policies in accordance with the new legislation, record keeping in a specific format, etc.

The observance of the advertising regime for gambling activities is primarily supervised by the NOG. The National Audiovisual Council and the National Authority for Consumers' Protection can also technically supervise certain aspects of gambling advertising, depending on the situation.

In accordance with Law 158/2008, advertising is defined as any form of presentation for a commercial, industrial, crafting or liberal activity, with the purpose of promoting the sale of goods or services, including immovable goods, rights or obligations.

Pursuant to GD 111/2016, any advertising of gambling activities must be performed in accordance with the legal principles in terms of the protection of minors and responsible gambling. Advertising materials cannot be placed within or on the boundaries of educational, religious or social-cultural premises, and must depict, in a visible manner, the minors' interdiction to participate in gambling, signaled through visual signs, the series and number of the gambling licence, and the NOG logo.

The most notable restrictions in terms of advertising are the following:

  • the advertising of bonuses offered by online operators may be performed only on limited channels, namely on the operator’s website, on the websites of its licensed affiliates or via e-messages sent to active players who opted-in to receive this type of commercial communications; and
  • based on a recent decision of the National Audiovisual Council, corroborated with the interpretation of the audiovisual regulator, TV advertising for gambling may be performed only after 11 pm, with the exception of betting activities, which may also be promoted during live sport events.

The sanctions for infringing the advertising regime for gambling activities start with administrative fines and can theoretically lead up to the suspension or revocation of the licence.

In accordance with the regulation, licensed operators are required to notify the NOG about any amendments to the initial information on the basis of which the licence and authorisation were granted. As per the licensing requirements, such initial information includes the details of the operator’s directors, shareholders and the shareholding structure, ultimate beneficial owners, etc. Therefore, if the acquisition/change of control affects the initial information presented at the licensing stage, this triggers a disclosure requirement towards the NOG.

The Romanian gambling legislation does not contain particular guidelines on this matter, so the applicable implications should be assessed by reference to the general regime summarised under 10.1 Disclosure Requirements.

The Romanian gambling legislation does not contain any explicit requirements in relation to passive investors in acquisitions or changes of control. The applicable obligations (if any) are to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Depending on the type and severity of the breach, the NOG has the power to suspend, revoke or even cancel gambling licences. Furthermore, the gambling regulator also has the competence to apply administrative fines if an operator infringes the licensing and authorisation conditions.

If a breach committed by an operator may represent a criminal offence, the NOG is legally obliged to defer the case to the criminal investigation bodies.

Sanctions are enforced either directly by the NOG (in case of the suspension, revocation or cancellation of the licence or other regulatory breaches) or in co-operation with other public authorities (eg, the tax authority, police bodies, etc).

Since 2015 when the regulatory framework was reformed, there have been several notable cases where the NOG suspended or revoked both land-based and online licences, or even cancelled two interim online licences.

Financial penalties are generally enforced through the co-operation of the NOG with the fiscal authorities.

In addition, it must be noted that all licensed operators are required to post a guarantee for securing the risk of non-payment of their tax obligations owed towards the state budget. If an operator fails to pay the applicable taxes, the authorities are entitled to enforce the respective guarantee.

There are no recent regulatory trends or updates in Romania in relation to social gaming.

There are no recent regulatory trends or updates in Romania in relation to eSports.

There are no recent regulatory trends or updates in Romania in relation to fantasy sports.

There are no recent regulatory trends or updates in Romania in relation to skill gaming.

There are no recent regulatory trends or updates in Romania in relation to blockchain technology in the particular context of gambling operations.

Since the new legal framework in the field of gambling has been enacted for only a few years, no significant regulatory reforms are expected, at least not in the near future.

In accordance with the gambling regulation, land-based gambling operations entail a physical presence in Romania. Thus, operators holding a land-based licence are established as Romanian companies and, as a result, become subject to the general corporate tax provided by the Romanian fiscal legislation. At the time of writing, the general corporate tax is established as a 16% profit tax.

Exceptionally, for operators of land-based casinos only, if the profit tax deriving from this activity does not exceed 5% of the revenues, the respective casino operator is subject to corporate tax capped at 5% of total revenues (turnover not GGR).

For online gambling operations, the fiscal regime may differ depending on the jurisdiction of incorporation. Obtaining an online licence does not necessarily require operation under a Romanian incorporated vehicle. Any company established in an EU or EEA Member State (or under the Swiss Confederation) may apply for a licence in Romania. In fact, at the time of writing, most operators holding an online licence in Romania are incorporated outside Romania, in other EU jurisdictions.

As such, an operator holding an online licence in Romania as a foreign company is not subject to corporate tax in Romania, unless the respective operation generates a permanent establishment in Romania. However, if the online operator is incorporated as a Romanian company, the respective operator will generally be subject to the 16% profit tax indicated above.

The tax regime and rules/distinctions summarised above apply also to B2B providers holding a Class 2 licence in Romania.

Simion & Baciu

11 Maior Alexandru Campeanu St
1st floor, Unit 3
Bucharest 011235
Romania

+40 31 419 04 88

+40 31 419 04 88

office@simionbaciu.ro www.simionbaciu.ro
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Law and Practice

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Simion & Baciu is a partnership formed as a spin-off of several lawyers and consultants from the largest and oldest law firm in Romania. It is active in various areas of law and regulated industries, in particular media, technology, intellectual property and life sciences, with a notable focus on gambling and entertainment, consumer protection and advertising. The firm is currently led by three partners, and also includes four associates with expertise in IP, gambling and gaming, privacy and personal data processing, corporate, and M&A.

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