Romania Bans Gambling Facilities in Less Populated Areas to Combat Illegal Operators

Home » Romania Bans Gambling Facilities in Less Populated Areas to Combat Illegal Operators

Following the Prime Minister’s approval, the Romanian Chamber of Deputies passed a law to ban land-based gambling operations in small cities and villages with populations of less than 15,000 residents. As reported by Euronews, the legislation referred to as the Pannel Law or ”the law on slot machines” is the first of this kind in the recent Romanian history.

Law Passed with Unanimous Vote:

The law to ban slot machines in rural in less populated urban areas across the Southeastern European country reportedly passed the lower instance of the House on a vast majority vote, with 243 proponents, two sustained, and four abstentions. As reported, Prime Minister used the occasion to declare the coalition government’s victory over the proliferated illegal gambling facilities reaching remote and low-populated country’s areas.

Affecting Legal and Illegal Operations:

He reportedly said that the ”good old days” are over for illegal gambling operators as the ban may extend to almost 90% of such gambling locations in Romania. Alfred Simonis, the leader of the Social Democrats, shares the PM’s excitement. “It is the first law adopted in Parliament in 30 years against this mafia that has controlled the political world until now,” he reportedly said. “Right now we are fighting an industry that has a total turnover of €10-12 billion.”

According to reports, the legislation will also affect the operations of 27 licensed sports wagering operators such as SuperBet, StanleyBet, Mozzart Kladionica, and more. Industry stakeholders argue that they were not consulted about the measure, hoping that the competent authorities will follow the promise to control the black market, Euronews reports.

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Opposed Argumentation:

At the same time, two opposition parties blame the government for not taking a stronger position against illegal gambling or, respectively, question the population threshold qualification method. “They thought that slot machines only damage 15,000 people,” Ionut Mosteanu, the leader of the opposition USR reportedly said. “There was not even a debate to see how many townships qualify for this 15,000. Why not 16, 17, why not two million and you would ban them definitively?”

Gambling venues have proliferated across the country since 1989, when the Romanians overthrew a dictator regime to introduce democracy and liberal economy. According to the data from the state regulatory entity National Gaming Office, the Romanian market currently features 12,000 registered sports betting, bingo, casino, and lottery land-based facilities. The state benefits from tax revenues funneled by license and advertising fees imposed to gaming venues and sports betting operations.

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Adverse Effects of Economic Growth:

However, there are reportedly no recent data on the number of gambling addicts in the country. As reported by Euronews, the 2016 survey estimated that around 100,000 Romanians were addicted to some sort of gambling at the time. Also, a recent research commissioned by charity organization Save the Children reportedly showed that more than 14% of Romanian children spend money on gambling. It also showed that 10% of children have a parent spending money on gambling.

According to the source, the figures could now be even higher to testify about the adverse effects of the rapid economic growth over the past few decades. The law on illegal slot machines will reportedly be effective in 10 days after it is authorized by the Chamber to start changing the game at the national level.

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