Published: April 14, 2024

Romania’s Prime Minister bans gambling in small towns

Romania has confirmed gambling will be completely banned in small towns and villages with populations of less than 15,000 people. 

The proposal was passed into legislation as the so-called ‘law of slot machines’ by deputies in the lower house of parliament. Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu fast-tracked the law as an ‘executive order’.   

The Prime Minister said: “The good old days of those who profited greedily by selling people’s illusions are over. The Parliament voted today to remove gambling slums from more than 90 percent of the localities in Romania. Protecting the people should be the priority, not the extra money raised to the budget made on people’s suffering. We have increased taxes on gambling, we have better regulated online gaming, we have banned gambling in towns under 15,000 and we will continue to take action until things are under control. I’m not afraid of anyone and I’ll go all the way.” 

The ban will come into effect within ten days of being officially enacted, affecting most of Romania’s 27 licensed operators including market leaders Rizio, SuperBet, StanleyBet, Fortuna Entertainment and Mozzart Kladionica.  

Alfred Simonis, the leader of the Social Democrats said: “It is the first law adopted in Parliament in 30 years against this mafia that has controlled the political world until now. Right now, we are fighting an industry that has a total turnover of €10bn to €12bn.” 

Industry figures have complained that they were not consulted but hope that the authorities could get control the black market as they suggested. The National Gaming Office, the state body that monitors and approves the sector, currently has 12,000 registered sports betting, bingo, casino, lottery rooms. 

Last year, the Ministry of Finance introduced a huge hike in license fees with an online licence costing €500,000 a year, a lottery licence costing €200,000, Video lottery terminals licences costing €100 per machine, casino licences costing €4,000 per table, poker costing €5,000 per club, bingo in gaming halls costing €5,000 and licences for bingo organised via television costing €500,000.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.