Romania has long had strict laws and regulations governing gambling, and in 2011, that legislation intensified in a way that nearly crippled the industry in the country. In 2015, however, reform goes into effect that will lower the tax burden and restrictions on casino operators.
Legalization of Online Gambling
When Romania legalized online gambling in 2011, they did so in a very controlling manner. Although there were many factors in play, a key aspect to the approach was to ensure that the country did not lose tax revenue. The government even went as far to make gambling with unlicensed online operators a crime punished by two years in prison. Rather than preserve tax revenue, however, the new laws cut it substantially because existing operators closed up shop, few new operators came and many casual gamblers simply stopped playing due to fear that that may be participating in an illegal activity.
The Impetus for Change
The most glaring impetus for change is the reduced tax revenues. The government that existed in 2011 would have likely traded that loss for continued control. However, that government that enacted the act crumbled and was replaced in just three months when Parliament appointed Victor Ponta as the new prime minister. Another important impetus was the European Union, which pressured Romania due to restrictive trade, which it argued was hurting both Romania and the other European businesses that would do business there.
What It Means
As 2015 unfolds, Romania will see an influx of online and brick-and-mortar casino operations. These new casinos will likely be aggressive in attracting new clientele both in and out of Romania and, thanks to tax breaks, will have the flexibility to offer attractive promotions and other opportunities. The industry will also witness an influx of Romanian gamblers who will now be able to participate without fear of imprisonment.