- Romania traditionally has been a pro-gambling country
- After joining the European Union in 2007, the country began updating gambling rules and regulations
- The government added a “greed tax,” a new 2% tax on the turnover of gambling operators
- This was changed to a 2% tax on customer deposits to online gambling platforms
Gambling laws in Romania
Romania places a significant focus on obtaining revenues from gambling activities. The country’s laws were reviewed late in 2014 to ensure they meet the guidelines and rules of the European Commission.
Casinos have a long history in the country, dating back to the start of the 20th century when the Loteria Romana, the Romanian lottery, was established.
During the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, gambling was illegal. This ban came to an end gradually during the 1990s. The first casino opened its doors in 1991.
Most casinos in Romania are in and around the country’s capital, Bucharest. Many poker rooms are located in the same area and sports betting is very popular across the nation.
The National Gambling Office oversees gambling in the country. It authorizes operators along with the Supervisory Committee and regulates the sector as a whole.
Loteria Romana is the main operator for retail and online gambling. Online gambling has been legal in the country since 2010 but it took a number of years for a platform to open. Rules for the sector only came into place in 2013.
Previously, there was a 25% levy on gambling winnings. This is no longer the case. The tax is 1% on winnings of less than €15,000 ($170,000), 16% on winnings of between €15,000 and €100,000 ($114,000), and 25% on winnings greater than €100,000.
Changes in 2019
A number of changes have been made to taxes on the gambling market in Romania in 2019. Following an emergency ordinance, taxes were increased for various sectors in the country. This saw what was known as a “greed tax” on bank assets, as well as a 3% tax on the turnover of telecoms operators.
On January 1, 2019, a new 2% tax on turnover from gambling went into effect. Originally, the plan was for a 5% turnover tax for online operators and a 3% rate for retail operations. However, both taxes were reduced to 2%. The first of the monthly payments was due on February 25.
There are 22 online gambling operators in Romania. It has been reported that a subsidiary of 888 that operates in the Romania market is planning to leave the region, but the company denies it.
Now it seems that the gamblers themselves will be on the receiving end of this new tax hike. In February, the government changed the turnover tax to a tax on customer deposits.
While this was welcome news for the operators, it was of course not a good deal for the gamblers. The first online operators to tell their customers of this hike were Vlad Cazino and Unibet on March 13.
There will now be a 2% deduction at the source of their deposits. A lot of gamblers were hoping that the operators themselves would spare their customers and absorb this cost themselves. It looks as if they were wrong.
There is also a tax on bonus offers of 3%. As a result of these changes, the online gambling sector in Romania is likely to suffer this year. Experts believe there could be a drop in revenues of between 4% and 6% for the period.