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How to Obtain a Online Gambling License in Romania

Question: What do I need to know before starting an online gambling business in Romania? What is the law regarding this activity?

Answer: In Romania, the gambling activity including the online sector, is controlled via the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 77/2009, modified and completed by the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 92/2014 and as well by all enforcement guidelines regarding these ordinance. The online gambling activity is defined by the Article No. 10, paragraph (1), letter h) and i) from the first ordinance as it follows:

“(…) h) online gambling refers to fixed-odds betting, organized through the agency of communication systems such as internet, landline and mobile systems;

i) Online gambling refers to different types of games of chance, others than those defined for the letters a),e),f),g) and h) (lotto games, bingo games organized in gaming halls or conducted via internet, landline or mobile phones, online betting representing fixed-odds betting) which are conducted in other ways, different from those involving the actual physical presence of players, organized and broadcasted through internet or other means and for which the organizer had previously requested and obtained an authorization(…) ”

The online betting can take place, as all other games of chance, only if the license for organizing gabling games is obtained and as well the gambling exploitation authorization. According to stipulations mentioned for acquiring the Romania online gambling license, the license for organizing games of chance is provided to economic operators who comply with the regulations and it is valid for 10 (ten) years only if the imposed taxes are being paid.

Question: Me and my partners are interested in obtaining a license for our online gambling business. What can we do, please?

Answer: In order to obtain the online gambling licence the following conditions must be fulfilled:

1. the online gambling industry in Romania, according to legal provisions, imposes that the economic operators must confirm the existence of a main business activity as organizing games of chance; the existence of authorities’ acceptance provided to legal assignees of the legal person, issued according to legal provisions; the evidence of subscribed and paid-in share capital.

2. the legal assignees of the legal person must file an affidavit proving that the economic operator has no criminal charges or convictions; there are no incongruences as presented by legal provisions;

3. the legal assignees must file the criminal record certificate;

4. the economic operator requested an authorization for games of chance exploitation;

Also, gambling operators must prove that:

a) the legal person has a bank account in which to deposit the players' money and winning payments;

b) the organizer’s central ICT system has a system for recording and identifying participants in the game, as well as for recording every transaction;

c) the software used for the games has been approved in advance by the ONJN;

d) the existence of an ”authorized representative” for the company in the event that it is registered in another EU Member State, another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in the Swiss Confederation;

e) the game server and the mirror server store all the data concerning the provision of remote gambling services;

f) the communication equipment records the location of a player's IP address, the date, time and the duration of their game session;

g) the communication equipment must be installed on Romanian territory or on the territory of another EU Member State, another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in the Swiss Confederation;

Question: Could you please explain what taxes I need to pay in order to start an online gambling business in Romania?

Answer: Please note the annual taxes for the licence of organizing games of chance in Romania, in particular for remote games of chance, there are three categories of license as follow:

1 st Class License: for the remote games presented in (i)-(n), in the case that the organizing operators have direct contracts with players. This is calculated in accordance with the organizer’s turnover. The turnover annual license fee is as follows:

- Up to EUR 500 000/year: EUR 6 000

- Between EUR 500 001/year and EUR 1 000 000/year: EUR 24 000

- Between EUR 1 000 001/year and EUR 5 000 000/year: EUR 60 000

- Between EUR 5 000 000/year and EUR 10 000 000/year: EUR 96 000

- Over EUR 10 000 001/year EUR 120 000

2 nd Class License: for the legal persons that are involved in the traditional and remote games of chance, as well as the RENAR accredited conformity evaluation bodies also known as “companies specialized in the field”. This license  is granted to:

- businesses that offer game platform management and host facilities: EUR 6 000/year;

- businesses that produce in Romania, import or undertake intracommunitary transactions in Romania: EUR 6 000/year

- payment processors: EUR 6 000year

- companies that produce and/or distribute specialized gambling software: EUR 6 000/year

- affiliates EUR 6 000/year

- certifiers EUR 6 000/year

- auditors EUR 6 000/year

- RENAR accredited conformity evaluation bodies EUR 6 000/year

3 rd Class License: for the State monopoly remote games - lottery games organized and transmitted via any communication system. Operators of lottery-type games will be granted EUR 115 000

The authorization for exploitation of games of chance is valid for one year covering the entire activity, developing and exploitation and for all adjacent technical equipments used for these purposes.

Question: My intention is to start an online gaming business in 4 European countries. What are the necessary documents to begin this business in Romania?

Answer: Procedures for obtaining the Romania online gambling license stipulate that in order to acquire the authorization for exploitation of games of chance, such as online betting, the economic operator must have the following documents:

  • operating code regulations for organizing and conducting such an activity;
  • papers proving the ownership rights or only for using the adjacent means;
  • necessary for conducting the game including equipments;
  • contract for monitoring;
  • documents proving the acceptance issued by the monitoring operator concerning performing audit procedures;
  • the legal provisions of online gaming in Romania also requests the document issued by the monitoring operator proving that the authenticity of game rules and other adjacent regulations;
  • the prove of existence of a guarantee fund, an affidavit from the owner proving that the place used for conducting these activities follows the overall sanitary regulations and also the fire certificate stipulations;
  • document proving that the owner has the right to use the software program for conducting this game, for live broadcasting it is requested an authorization of exploitation for games of chance in casinos;
  • the existence proving the registration as a personal data operator with the National Monitoring Authority regarding processing of personal data.

Question: What is the monitoring body for the online gambling services in Romania?

Answer: As it is easily noticeable, a novelty is the presence of a monitoring operator who comes to confirm the compliance with regulations, the monitoring operator and the economic operator are not interdependent. This monitoring body represents the National Gambling Office which is responsible for monitoring and reporting of the gambling services providers, their advertisers and affiliates. The National Gambling Office adds some transparency to the overall gambling regulations climate as it strictly indicates some precise provisions to be followed by economic operators involved in such activities.

The licence requested for the first paragraph is not necessary, if the licence for organizing games of chance is requested simultaneously with the authorization for exploitation of games of chance.

Adjacent taxes for the authorization of exploitation of online games of chance (annual):

For 1st Class remote games of chance: 16 % of the organizer’s income from games of chance.

For 3rd Class remote games of chance: 16 % of the organizer’s income from games of chance. 

These are only some guidance notes concerning this topic. For further information please contact us, our best lawyers in Bucharest offer free consultations to businessman interested in starting a company in Romania.

by Cristian Darie

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