Romania bans gambling in rural towns

Romania has been tightening gambling regulations.
Romania has been tightening gambling regulations.

An executive order bans gambling in towns with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants.

Romania.- The Romanian parliament has approved Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu’s executive order banning gambling in small rural towns. Some 243 deputies voted in favour of the Legea Păcănelelor, with four abstentions. 

The ban, which Ciolacu signed as an executive order to ensure it was fast-tracked through the Chamber of Deputies, prohibits gambling venues and gaming machines in towns with fewer than 15,000 registered inhabitants. The government has estimated that this represents 90 per cent of all localities in Romania.

The move will lead to the closure of some of the betting offices run by Romania’s 27 licensed operators, which include the likes of SuperBet, StanleyBet and Casa Pariurilor. The ban will apply from ten days after the law is enacted and there is currently no plan to provide compensation to operators.

Welcoming the vote, Ciolacu said: “The days of those who profited greedily by selling people’s illusions are over. The Parliament has voted today to remove gambling slums from more than 90 per cent of the localities in Romania.” 

He said that, together with other measures, the move would protect citizens: “We have increased gambling taxes, improved regulation of the sector, banned gambling in towns with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants, and will continue to take measures until things are under control. I am not afraid of anyone and I will continue to the end on this matter.” 

Controversy over gambling regulator appointment

Earlier this month, there was controversy when Ciolacu named celebrity hairstylist  Cristian-Gabriel Pascu, a businessman with little political experience and no experience in the gambling sector, as vice president of the National Gambling Office (ONJN). Pascu will be responsible for overseeing supervisory and enforcement duties.

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