Romania Cracking Down on Unlicensed Operators
In some very blunt remarks, Romania’s National Gambling Office (NGO) president Cristinela Odeta Nestor has vowed to, “eradicate,” operators who don’t fall in line with the country’s harsh new gambling regulations.
How harsh are the new rules? For starters, according to CalvinAyre.com, unlicensed operators who wish to get back in Odeta’s good graces would need to pony up 20% of their take to pay for back taxes.
Ok, that’s pretty harsh, but it’s the price you pay for not playing ball. But what if you decide you don’t want to play along at all? Odeta is ready for that scenario, too.
She’s planning on hitting unlicensed sites with a variety of sanctions including blacklists and IP blocking. Offenders have 90 days to get in compliance before Odeta starts implementing sanctions.
On a brighter note, Odeta says the country expects to start issuing licenses for legitimate operators by the end of the year. Even better, she also predicts that licensed operators will bring in around €100 million ($113 million USD) annually.
While Romanian gaming officials may see a bright future for the country’s regulated gambling industry, the gambling industry itself doesn’t seem convinced. William Hill, a licensed and pretty legitimate operator, recently exited the country thanks to the, “regulatory environment.”
While it’s easy to mock hard-edged politicians like Odeta, she’s in something of a Catch-22. Operators and consumers in Romania, and other former Communist countries, have a well-earned suspicion surrounding government regulators and that makes it easy for them to make excuses for not getting compliant.
At the same time, governments in those countries are hard-pressed to collect taxes so that they can offer the services citizens expect from governments anywhere.
In short, this story will definitely not be wrapped up by December 31.