Romania publishes online gambling blacklist

By Tom Lewis
The National Office for Gaming (ONJN), Romania’s gambling authority, has posted a blacklist of 48 unlicensed online gaming websites.

Ana-Maria Baciu, partner in Romanian law firm Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Peterson (NNDKP), told Gambling Insider that operators which have previously operated in the Romanian market, or are still doing so, must pay an entry/amnesty fee.

The fee constitutes 20% of each online gaming website’s gross gaming revenue earned in the country from December 2010 until either the end of their operations in Romania or their obtainment of the right to operate in the country, as well as a sum of "up to €600,000 for the past five years” which is "set forth by the regulator as the licensing fee previously applicable to different types of online games of chance".

The websites will have a 90-day grace period in which to pay the entry fee.

Baciu said: “In the case that such a fee is paid within 90 days of the draft law coming into force, the operator is exempt from criminal and fiscal liability.

“For those who will not pay, the Romanian authorities seem willing to undertake any necessary efforts to enforce criminal liability.”

Baciu noted that the conditions for removal from the blacklist for any companies who fail to make the payment have “not yet been regulated".

Among the i-gaming casinos listed as operating illegally are Carbon Poker, Intertops and Slotland.

Major operators BwinParty, Bet365 and PokerStars are reportedly in the process of negotiating their retrospective tax bills with the ONJN.

William Hill recently announced its intention to withdraw from the Romanian market over the developments, which were introduced to the Romanian legislature at the beginning of 2015.

However, the operator did hint at a future return in customer correspondence.

In an email to customers the operator said: “Though William Hill is obliged to cease to accept business from customers in Romania for the time being, they are confident that we will have the opportunity to work together in the future.”

The ONJN has also made public the names of the companies successful in obtaining an interim licence to operate in the country.

The interim licences of Netbet, Stanleybet and Winmasters are set to expire on 31 December 2015, although the firms will have the opportunity to apply for ten-year licences at the end of the year. Romania is the latest in a succession of Eastern European countries to introduce an online gaming blacklist, with similar measures present in Bulgaria, Hungary and Latvia.

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