While both actions are significant steps forward, both are intended only as temporary solutions to the country’s ongoing challenge of igaming liberalization. As it stands, both the licenses and the black list only apply until December 31. At that time, 10-year licenses will be granted on a rolling basis.
The first license issued went to local operators S.C. Right Betting S.R.L. They were an odds-on favorite from the get-go because of their position as top betting kiosk operator in the country.
The other two initial licenses went to Cosmo Gaming Company, Ltd — the operator of NetBet Romania; and WM Interactive Limited.
Big name European and North American operators such as PokerStars, Bet365, bWin are still negotiating with officials at Romania’s National Office for Gaming over repayment of back taxes.
According to an article on CalvinAyre.com, the aforementioned operators have been granted a 90-day grace period to back 20% of their last five years worth of back taxes.
Companies that don’t cough up cash can expect to find themselves on Romania’s notorious igaming black list.
When released, the list contained the names of 48 sites whose IP addresses won’t be available in the country. Those 48 sites cover only 12 operators, including some well-regarded brands such as Intertops.
Big name operators, it turns out, have had plenty of trouble navigating Romania’s Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Earlier this year, William Hill pulled out of the country entirely, rather than deal with red tape and taxes.
We should know by the end of the year whether that’s still an issue for operators in Romania.