Legal Aspects of Online Gambling in Romania

Gambling creates addiction! This is not a novelty, nor is it a general factor for all players, but you would be surprised to find out that there are over one million players worldwide who have developed an addiction to gambling. Depending on the site security, Responsible Gambling is the first factor taken into consideration for the drafting of legislation. In order to be able to operate without breaking the law, online casinos are subjected to dozens of tests, including the designation of a competent body for monitoring, verification, and regulation. The laws for online gambling also work in the opposite direction, protecting the operator from possible fraud and abusive player behavior.

Online casinos in Romania – Are they legal?

Online gambling in Romania is legal. It was legalized in 2010, but no online operator was able to acquire a casino license until 2015, largely due to the demanding laws. Another reason that contributed to delaying the licensing of online casinos was the lack of an independent body to verify their activity and to regulate them. That has since been solved and a number of online casino operators have obtained a Romanian casino license.

Online casinos that do not have a Romanian license, are black-listed and their websites have been blocked in Romania and can thus not be accessed by people living in Romania. However, not all casinos that lack a license have been blocked. Some smaller casinos’ IPs have not been blocked yet, and others have somehow managed to remain unblocked. In addition, not all online casinos that have a Romanian casino license are equally good when it comes to customer support, payment methods bonus offers, etc.

Who is and what does ONJN do?

The Romanian National Gambling Office (ONJN) is the only body in the country allowed to check and license online casinos in Romania.

. ONJN ensures that online casinos comply with all rules and laws. The body was established following the Government’s Executive Order number 20 from 2013 regarding the establishment, organization, and functioning of the National Gambling Office, which came to complete another Executive Order from 2009, regarding the organization and operation of gambling activities. A big influence with a positive impact on the gambling industry is Rombet – The Association of Gambling Organizers, an entity that is sponsored by all active operators and was established for the purpose of legal counseling. The association’s vision is to have fair legislation.

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Penalties for breaking the law

Any person or institution that handles gambling activities that are not authorized, respectively licensed in Romania, will be punished according to the legal provisions. The law also refers to institutions or persons carrying out advertising activities for prohibited sites and locations. Such entities will be fined 100,000 LEI and up to two years in prison. Equally harsh is the law on banning minors from gambling sites; if the law is violated, the operator will be criminally liable.

How the Romanian casino law affects the players

The residents of Romania benefit from a very well-regulated market. There are measures and normative acts for the benefit of the players. The elaboration and approval of the current legislation was considered primarily for user safety. The operators are required to ensure transparency to the conditions, terms, licenses, and certifications, precisely so that the user has the right to a correct and safe choice. Also, not only are they encouraged, but they are also required to provide a responsible playing environment, by practicing the principles of social responsibility:

  • to act when identifying a player with addiction problems
  • to inform the player of the existing danger
  • to allocate funds for the permanent training of the personnel regarding the identification of the dependent persons
  • to help players with problems
  • to verify the identity documents to prevent the inclusion of minors on platforms

The most recent measures were taken against tax fraud, provided with license suspension and the criminal trial, depending on the fraud. A casino that transmits false information about bonuses, promotions, winnings or withdraws, is considered fraudulent and will be punished according to the law.

Verification of personal data

When registering a player account, the unique personal number (CNP) is one of the first information you must provide. It still does not apply to all casinos, as this measure was introduced later and all other operators will be subject to the legislation. Until recently, the validity of the player account was necessary only before the money was withdrawn because no online operator would make these payments without having real and current information about the player’s identity. With the new measures, personal data must be provided at the time of registration. The first reason is to prevent the access of minors to gambling. The second reason is to protect against fraudulent actions, such as money laundering. Allowing payments with Bitcoin, which protects players’ anonymity, has recently come to the attention of regulators, but there is no information on a new regulatory measure.

What are the rules for online casino offers?

The terms and conditions under which promotions, winnings, and welcome bonuses are offered at the online casinos in Romania are set by the operator. They vary from casino to casino and ONJN has not imposed any restrictions on this. The role of the National Gambling Office is to ensure that they are clearly explained, transparent and respected. Otherwise, ONJN may withdraw the license and sanction the operator according to the current legislation. In order to protect against technical failures or other unforeseen situations, the casinos develop their own terms of use, which have no legal restrictions.

Online income tax

In the first version of the law from 2013, the income earned from the gambling must be declared to the fiscal bureau (ANAF), and the withdrawals from the player’s account to a bank account or any other source is taxed (without taking into consideration whether the player is on win or loss). The situation took a favorable turn in May 2018. According to the new regulations, the tax due by the player is withheld directly from the source – for each withdrawal from the account on the gaming platform to the player’s personal account. According to this law, the player is no longer required to fill up any statement regarding the income from online gambling, and the casino operator is required to calculate the tax, to withhold, and to transfer the state money.

Promoting online gambling

Advertising or any promotional activity regarding gambling is subject to strict regulations and must comply with the current laws, otherwise fined from 50,000 to 100,000 LEI. The promotion of gambling, bonuses, and online gambling activities must be within the limits of social responsibility, by not exploiting minors’ susceptibility, giving false information or using other deceptive practices.

Who influences online casino laws in Romania?

The National Office for Gambling is the only specialized body with a legal personality able to manage, monitor, and propose new regulations, according to the European plan. ONJN aims at correct, fair, responsible, and transparent regulation, combating the illegal practices in this sector. ONJN is subordinated to the Government of Romania.

Rules for Bitcoin Gambling

Bitcoin has undergone major changes, becoming a very popular virtual currency after 2017 and has drawn the attention of the online gambling industry. At the moment, online platforms can be developed to offer cryptocurrency gambling. Because they were not regulated in Europe, these online platforms have less strict operating rules. For example, the player is not required to disclose their identity. But if an operator offers both payment methods, software for real money and software for bitcoin, then it will fall under the Government laws and will have to obey all the regulations. This applies to both the operator and the player.

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