Romania has become an iGaming hotspot.
Located in the northeast of Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, Romania’s economy ranks 13th in the EU in terms of GDP, though its GDP per capita lags slightly behind the European average. The country’s growing gambling market is drawing the attention of increasing numbers of online casino and sportsbook operators.
Read until the end to learn more about a country that could prove to be a very worthwhile investment opportunity.
The Romanian gambling market
There are two main reasons why Romania is becoming such a popular choice for iGaming operators.
First, it’s a fully regulated market with established rules and licensing requirements. That kind of stability creates a legal environment where gambling businesses can thrive — online casinos and sportsbooks have a clear idea of what authorities expect from them.
Secondly, it is one of the most active gambling markets in Eastern Europe. The country’s population of 20 million, 88% of whom have internet access, generate a total GGR of €900 million a year. Culture is also a factor — far from being taboo, gambling is viewed as a perfectly acceptable pastime.
Overview of the gambling industry and legislation of the Romania
The National Gaming Authority (ONJN) was created on March 27, 2013, and received state permission to license online operators immediately.
The original licensing standards required operators to be located in the country to obtain a license to operate online. However, a year later, the criteria was changed so that international online companies no longer needed a land-based gambling license to obtain a local online license.
A wide variety of types of gambling are regulated in Romania: land-based casinos, slot machines, poker, roulette, bingo, blackjack, sports betting, and totalizers, as well as online versions of all of the above.
Gambling advertisements are allowed, but they cannot be placed near schools, educational institutions, or cultural or religious places, and must inform the viewer that gambling for underage people is prohibited.
There are three types of licenses offered by the ONJN.
The first-class license must be obtained by B2C operators in order to offer gambling services in the Romanian market. Licensees can offer either land-based or online gambling.
The second-class license (which Slotegrator holds) allows B2B providers to offer their products and solutions to licensed Romanian operators.
The third-class license is held by the National Romanian Lottery, which has a legal monopoly on the organization of all kinds of lotteries in Romania.
Fees depend on the type of license.
First-class license holders pay an annual fee of €15,600 for a turnover of less than €500,000 and up to €312,000 for a turnover of more than €10 million. Second-class license holders pay €9,500 as an annual fee, and they will also have to pay another €9,500 for the license itself.
The GGR tax is 23% on revenues of at least €120,000 per year. On January 1, 2019, a monthly tax of 2% of the total monthly participation fees was implemented. This tax is paid on bettors’ deposits. On the players’ side, winnings over the amount of €15,000 are taxed at the rate of 1%.
Requirements for obtaining a Romanian gambling license
There are a few requirements that applicants for a license must meet, but don't worry — they are roughly the same as most licensing jurisdictions
The first requirement is to establish residency in Romania, the European Union, or the European Economic Area. International companies must appoint a local authorized representative, based in Romania, to liaise with the pertinent authorities and sign contracts on the company's behalf.
The second requirement is to open an account in a Romanian bank, where the operator will need to deposit players' money. Licensed online gaming operators will only be allowed to make payments to players through ONJN-approved payment systems. The minimum registered capital requirements depend on the type of games that the company offers.
Finally, licensed companies must submit monthly declarations of their profits. They must also adhere to regulations regarding the protection of minors, as well as guidelines for the content and placement of advertising.
Gambling harm protection in Romania
There are simple requirements set in place for protection against problem gambling.
First, each site should have a visible clock that tracks the duration of the game session, as well as the user's balance.
Second, all information must be in Romanian.
Third, if a player logs in more than once every 12 hours, he should receive an email warning them of the possible risks of harmful gambling behavior.
Fourth, each player must be able to set limits on daily, weekly, and monthly deposits, as well as having the option to pay the debt off in the same way as was originally deposited.
Among other things, players have the right to delete their account, either temporarily (for a period of 24 hours), or permanently. If an account is permanently deleted, the user will not be able to create a new account for the next six months.
Online casino and sportsbook software
Finding quality software is essential for launching an online casino or sportsbook. The platform should not only be safe, reliable, functional, and user-friendly, but also visually attractive in order to make a great first impression.
Slotegrator’s online casino software is licensed in Romania, and we’re always looking to help customers with another great opportunity to start a business in the gambling industry — so if you’re ready to dive into Romania, drop us a line and we’ll help you get there.
Romanian players’ game preferences
Slots that were already popular in land-based casinos are favorites in the online sector as well. Romanian players are partial to bright, colorful animation and progressive jackpots with up to four levels of increasing wins.
Blackjack and roulette are classic choices for land-based casino visitors, and poker is massively popular, with capital city Bucharest playing host to a number of international poker tournaments.
Stocking a casino with a variety of quality games is a time-consuming and difficult process. It requires in-depth study of the market to determine player tastes, as well as negotiations with each game provider.
However, you can save a lot of time and money by using a reputable aggregator. Doing so will not only offer a selection of new and innovative games through a single integration session, but also regularly update your portfolio of game content.
Popular sports for betting
As for the most popular sports to bet on, football, as usual, is in a league of its own. Liga I, Cupa Ligii, the Romanian Women's Cup, and many other Romanian soccer leagues are huge events for sports bettors.
A high percentage of bets are also placed on motorsports — there are many racing leagues in Romania, such as Alex Cascatău Motorsport. Cycling is also popular, with competitions such as Ciclism Romania, Tour of Romania and many more bicycle races drawing punters’ attention. As in other European countries, handball and tennis are common.
Aside from traditional sports, the esports mania that’s sweeping the globe hasn’t skipped Romania. For example, the International E-Sports Federation (IESF) announced that the final of the 15th World Cyber Games Championship, which is expected to draw 1,200 players, will be held in Jassi, Romania, in 2023.
Like in any other European country, the most popular payment methods in Romania are Visa and Mastercard. Many other payment systems are also available to players, including electronic wallets such as PayPal, Skrill and Neosurf, as well as popular cryptocurrencies.
To facilitate the integration of each payment system and reduce the paperwork generated by signing a separate contract with each vendor, you can use an aggregator to integrate all payment methods at once. For example, our Moneygrator solution combines 250 payment systems for different gambling markets in a single integration session.
How can Slotegrator help?
If the process of opening an online casino seems complicated and expensive, that’s because it easily can be. Challenges such as creating a business structure, developing a platform, and dealing with international bureaucracy and regulations are just the beginning.
That is why many operators turn to aggregator companies, such as Slotegrator, to save time and money, avoid paperwork, and eliminate potential mistakes. In addition, instead of constantly negotiating with new game content providers, they can purchase a portfolio of 15,000 games from more than 100 developers in a single agreement.
We also offer turnkey gaming platform development and white label solutions to speed up the process of launching an online casino. In addition, our legal team is always ready to help operators with complex issues related to the licensing process and the regulations of specific jurisdictions.