Romania: Ready for the Online Gambling Industry
Romania is the latest Eastern European country to liberalize online gambling markets and presents some good opportunities, and interesting challenges, for gambling affiliates.
Here’s a few facts to consider when looking to break into this exciting new market.
Romanians Love Sports Wagering
One thing that’s safe to say about Romanians is that they love wagering on sports, especially soccer. Bookmaking making shops have been legal in the former Communist country for many years now and are very popular.
Though it’s only recently been legalized, online sports betting has big in Romania for quite some time. Most Romanian punters head to friendly online bookmakers like Bet 365 and Unibet that offer easy money transfers and some Romanian language content.
As it stands today, it looks like the Romanian Government is going to throw up a few regulatory hurdles in front of operators looking to business there, but that seems like business as usual on the Continent.
Though it stands to reason that sites offering Romanian content today will make a stab at entering the regulated market.
Mobile, Smartphone and Internet Access
Like citizens of many former Communist countries, Romanians embraced mobile phones in a major way. Recent estimates put cell phone penetration there at around 110% – 115%. That’s not surprising given the economics of setting up cellular networks over land line technology.
Affiliates with their eyes on Romania should keep in mind that while mobile phones are ubiquitous, smart phones are not. Only about 17% of mobile users there are one smart phones. (Though that number is up from just 9% a years ago.)
When it comes to getting on the Web, only about 39% of Romanians have Internet access at this time. A whopping 67% of those folks are going online from a traditional desktop PC.
Romania is still a very rural country, so most of those Internet users are clustered around Bucharest. And, like most emerging markets, a big chunk (35%) of the country’s web-enabled citizens are between the ages of 18-24.
Liberalization efforts in any country present operators and, by default, affiliates with a host of challenges. The Romanian market is still in its infancy and there are a lot of unanswered questions about how the regulatory framework there will operate.
On the upside, Romanian punters are already so familiar with offshore betting sites that affiliates can expect almost no learning curve for them. What’s more, educated Romanians tend to have more access to the Internet and lots of them speak English to some degree or another.
The downside of Romania, as pointed out by CAP commenter Hawkie, who has live there for almost 30 years, is:
This country is a socialist country that supports the average employee and doesn’t give any support for the companies. Corruptions is high and the companies that have relatives in high set places in the government take advantage in contracts with the state.
With time, it looks like the Romanian market will be a good bet for sports betting affiliates.
Romanian Facing Affiliates
Bet 365 – The massive UK bookmaker has long served Romanians and offers up Romanian language content. They make depositing in local currencies very easy and are a good choice for this market. Bet 365 offers affiliates a straight 30% revenue share.
Are you planning on promoting sports betting and casino games to Romanian players? Share your experiences in the comments section below.